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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 00:36 GMT
Censure over viral game adverts
Screenshot of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
The advert showed a man having his heart ripped out
A video advertising a computer game has been banned by the industry watchdog for glorifying violence.

The viral advert - designed to be circulated by internet users - showed a man's heart being ripped out.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the images in the advert were offensive and irresponsible.

The ban for the advert for Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is the first to be given to an internet viral advert by the watchdog.

The ASA said it caused distress and serious offence.

Man decapitated

The video clip - entitled Blood on the Carpet and made by Maverick Media for Midway Games - shows a fight breaking out at a board meeting between men in suits, accompanied by text saying "cut meetings short".

One man's heart is ripped out and another man is decapitated.

The advert's creators said was meant to be humorous, but the ASA said it had had one complaint and that the advert was irresponsible, since it glorified violence and some scenes could be emulated.

The clip appeared on two websites which carry viral adverts. The site owners said they had not received any complaints.

Meanwhile, the ASA rejected 82 complaints from viewers about a TV commercial that showed a live cow wearing a logo for Burger King.

Live cow

Some vegetarians said they found the advertisement distressing, but the watchdog said it was unlikely to cause widespread offence.

The commercial, for the burger chain's baguettes, showed a man in a field singing "they're only 1.99".

A cow then walked behind him wearing a blanket showing the Burger King logo.

Viewers complained it was offensive to show a live cow in an ad for a firm which sold beef products. Some said it was especially offensive to display the logo on it.

The advertising agency said the cow was meant as an engaging way to recreate the country environment, and it had not intended to draw a direct parallel between the animal and the product.

The ASA said it appreciated that some viewers would think the commercial in poor taste, but it was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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