Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 08:51 UK

Watchdog rejects video game ad campaign complaints

Gurmail Singh
Gurmail Singh was described as a well-liked and popular businessman

A watchdog has rejected complaints about adverts for a violent video game shown at the time of the murder of a Huddersfield shopkeeper in a robbery.

The four television ads for the Sony Playstation Heavy Rain game showed a shopkeeper being threatened by an armed man and a customer being shot.

Some said the ads were offensive because they were broadcast at the time of death of Gurmail Singh.

The company said it was unfortunate the ads coincided with Mr Singh's death.

Mr Singh, 63, died from head injuries after he was assaulted at his shop in Cowcliffe, Huddersfield, on 20 February.

We understand the broadcast of the ads coincided with tragic events in Huddersfield and we accepted that that may have been upsetting to those directly affected
The Advertising Standards Authority

Three 17-year-old boys and two men aged 20 have been charged with murder and robbery.

Three of the ads were restricted to screening after 1930 BST, with a version showing a customer hitting a robber over the head with a glass bottle restricted until after 2100 BST.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 38 complaints about the campaign, including concerns that it was offensive, glamorised violence and was inappropriate for children.

Rejecting the complaints, the ASA said the timing restrictions were sufficient to prevent the ads screening when children were likely to be watching and that children who did see them would realise the digitally animated characters were not real.

The watchdog said viewers were likely to associate the ads with the fictional narrative of the game rather than as real violent situations.

It said: "We understand the broadcast of the ads coincided with tragic events in Huddersfield and we accepted that that may have been upsetting to those directly affected by the incident and similar events of robbery."

The watchdog ruled although the timing was "unfortunate", the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.



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SEE ALSO
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Man before court over shop murder
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10 Mar 10 |  West Yorkshire
Four accused of shopkeeper murder
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