Kane & Lynch Ads Banned... Five Months After Release

April 9, 2008 -
Better late than never?

That could be the operative phrase at the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which, according to the Guardian, has just sanctioned an ad campaign for Eidos' Kane & Lynch.

The game, which garnered unimpressive reviews, launched on November 13th of last year - which makes the ASA's order that no K&L ads be reprinted or rebroadcast a bit pointless.

The ASA said that it had received 26 complaints and that the poster at left was "graphic and too shocking to be seen in an untargeted medium". From the Guardian:
The ad was used a double-page spread in Future Publishing's computer game magazine Edge, while a second version appeared in the magazine Total Film...

Ruling on the Kane & Lynch poster... the ASA said it was "likely to be seen as condoning and glorifying real violence", and was also irresponsible and "likely to cause serious or widespread offence".

From the ASA's report, as cited by the Guardian:
We noted that the demographic profile of the magazines that carried the ads was predominantly adult males and that only a small number of children were likely to have seen the ads.

We considered, however, that the graphic and shocking image, which would be seen as condoning and glorifying real violence, was likely to cause distress to some readers and was unsuitable for children to see. We therefore concluded that the placement of the ads was irresponsible.


A) Banning the ad that appeared in a magazine that target young adults is a bit extreme and ought to be challenged.

B) Whatsamatta? Don't they have TV commercials for 24 over there? Those commercials are way more violentl and suggestive than that picture.

maybe if we try hard enough we can get them to think black sabbath is anew band and ban them too =p

Just to give you another example of this, in Denmark, Europe, the authorities actually made Carlsberg, the Danish based beer company, take down some ads for beers on a web-site whose target audience clearlys was (and is) the 18-25+ agre group. And why did they do do this, you ask!?! Because children might see these adds, and think that drinking is sort of cool. At that time I just thought to myself, 'wtf' is going on and wrote a very angry letter or comment at a webiste, saying that I will not stand for ths sort of censorship, since it restricts my choices as an adult. Simply because children might see an add or two for a beer or two.

I don't understand why the authorities in the UK, or in Denmark etc. are going after Kane&Lynch adds and beer adss that clearly is marketed towards adults using the arguments that a child might see them or that some people might take offense at them. While I agree somewhat that children needs to be protected from seeing violent content, I also think that it really is the job of the parents to monitor this, not the state's.

If we, as a society restricts children from seeing what we deem as harmful content, be it sexual or violent, or just content we interprete as such i.e.g the mentioned Kane & Lynch ad, then might I suggest, that we ban cartoons as well, the Legend of Zelda games, Spyro games along with Sonic - The Hedgehog games. I mean some people could actually offensive the cartoony violence in these games as well as the content might be damaging to children. If it isn't the 'won't anyone think of the children' argument that get's you it is the 'someone might actually find this ad, game, video, or lyric' offensive. Yes, they might, but chances are they won't. And that is why we have a guaranteed freedom of expression: To make sure that we are able to say, show & tell content that other people might be offended by. If we were to take into account everything we se making sure that anyone got offended when we said it, then we couldn't say anything at all, and if we did, what we said, would certainly not have been as interesting and exciting as it could have been.

And yes, in Europe we have tv ads for progams (or shows) like '24' or the next big US war film, showing way more violence than the ads for Kane&Lynch are showing. In fact, next tuesday (the 15th of April 2008) starts a new detecttive show which is definitely not for children. It will begin at 5.30 PM and last for an hour each day. And in the tv ad for it today, there were shooting and content clearly not suitable for children -mich much worse than the ads for Kane&Lynch.

I agree, though, that 5-6 months after a game's release is very late....

I agree totally with Andy.
The country is bloody hopeless, always dealing from the lowest (stupidest / smallmindedededest ) denominator.
They should have a standard that any issue that receives less than 300 or so complaints is automatically ignored.
I'm so sick of ads, programs, ideas and improvements being shot down by 3 old people and a jack russell with nothing better to do before bingo than complain about something totally irrelevant to them.

In fact, in a democracy they should work on the idea of accepting the silent majority. Therefore they work out how many people are estimated to have seen the Advert and only pull it if more than half of those complain.

@ neoelasticman
So, each complaint = 100 people. Thus, 2600 complaints. That almost half of the users.

ALMOST half, so not the majority and therefore fails under new BOB's regulations.
job done.

Heh, Good old ASA, all it takes is complaints from 3 grannies and a Jack Russell :)

"... And it took us this long to do anything about it because no one knew this game actually existed."

And a whopping 26 complaints... From Adam Adamson to Zeke Zepper. Forget too little too late, how about too much too late?

I suppose they could have banned it for being an ad that way oversold a crap product, but if they got into that habit, General Elections would be a nightmare ;)

So they decided to remove it because children MIGHT see it. If we remove every advertisement that a child may gaze upon then go ahead and remove ads for anything not kid related. I find it hard to believe that anyone would be traumatized by a damn poster.

@ Corey

You obviously never heard of the CCFC... what you just described is basically their ideal world. Except take that and ad... basically all ads period.

I lol'd.

Now that game will have a boost in its sales. Good job, morons.

Boy, I sure can't wait for my governing body to dictate what I can see, what I can hear, what I can do, when I can sleep, what I can eat and what I can think.

Free will is a pain in the ass and something I cannot cope with.

Ok, so they should pull the Girls Gone Wild ads that they show after 11pm EST on Comedy Central because children might be up watching TV. Or they should have Budwiser and Miller pull their ads because Alcohol is bad and kids see them.



Spose, they have to justify their existence somehow.


They should get rid of those period. I'm sick and tired of seeing the same GGW commercial during every single got-dang commercial break.

oh damn, 26 complaints...
I mean, you know that 1 complaint is like the equivalent of 1 billion people being upset... so that means that 26 billion people were outraged over that ad! my god, they HAD to take those ads down, they should go back to 5 months ago and remove them

Hitman's "brilliantly executed" magazine ad. Burnout's "ka-ra-shin" billboard. The Saw and - what was that other one with the person buried in sand? that one - adverts.

This happens all the time in the UK and it will keep happening. There's one simple rule to follow: Do not put violent adverts/imagery on physical media because you simply can't have a watershed on billboards and magazines.

(Hey, there's an idea. You know those rotating devices they use to share ad space? Why not let them spin to advertise violent stuff once the lights go off?)

Five months? Isn't that kinda fast for a beaurocracy?

Yet another bizarre fear-based reaction from British authorities. Seems like we get these stories almost every day.

I remember being a kid, while my age was in the single digits. I was scouring for Playboys, playing Mortal Kombat at a friend's house, and learning how to use the Internet to find fake nude pictures of Roseanne Bar and Dolly Parton. It was an age of limitless discovery.

Because of kids, my entertainment options are fading away. It's not the politicians that are causing problems. I'm pretty sure that it's all the children that are ruining the world. So let's end hunger and pro-creation, both in one fell swoop, and start eating kids. They can be safe in our stomaches. We can be like kangeroos, but without all the kicking and bouncing.

mmm soylent green

The British people are really sensitive. Weird.


have we got great news for you! introducing our new civics manual . . . 1984!

"I remember being a kid, while my age was in the single digits. I was scouring for Playboys, playing Mortal Kombat at a friend’s house, and learning how to use the Internet to find fake nude pictures of Roseanne Bar and Dolly Parton. It was an age of limitless discovery."

Dude, Im down with that...but....Dolly Parton?

hey back in the day dolly parton had a great set of ummm . . . lungs

Proof that the people who complain don't know shit about what they're talking about.

“...likely to cause serious or widespread offence...”

That's funny, you'd think that after FIVE MONTHS we'd see some evidence of this "widespread offence". Twenty-six easily offended twats can hardly be described as "widespread".


sir take your logic and leave jk =p


Yep, 26 people complained, but all British people are sensitive...


That's nothing. In a Toronto Sun I saw last week, 6 idiots were bitching and moaning about Comedy Network's ads on the TTC for South Park Uncensored with one of the chars about to get anal probed. Those are probably the only 6 people old enough who have never seen an ep of South Park.

hmmm Ok so a quick google found circulation averages of around 31k for Edge and 85k Total Film per month...so 120000 adverts in circulation generated 26 complaints. 0.021% or to put it another way 99.979 people had no issue whatsoever.

Quite obviously this sick filth must be banned. It's an incitement to lawlessness.

Right, rant over, I'm off to sip fine malt whisky and indulge my sociopathic tendencies :)

This kind of stuff is getting a little weak, but that's people for you. Just today I read in the news that people have complained to the ad people about the shivering dog in the car advert. Ridiculous, really. Anyone with half a mind would know that the dog was probably trained.

Freaking armchair offendees!

@Steve Trained the dog eh? What kind of madness is this!?

Still, an amusingly obvious reaction from fellow Brits. Animals that appear to be scared causing an outcry? This is why the society for the protection of animals has a royal charter, but the society for the protection of children doesn't. Won't someone think of the doggies!


Oh and forgot to say what's graphic in the K&L advert any way? Some people really need to get a sense of perspective, I see worse on the news and you can bet children do too.



The idea with a lot of this seemingly misguided censorship, is actually a very sophisticated system of incrementalist control.

The material being censored is only important because it CAN be censored, it's only a means to the desired end.

Ordo Ab Chao... if you will.

/shrug.. or maybe I'm wearing a tinfoil hat, you decide.

"Five months? Isn’t that kinda fast for a beaurocracy?"



ASA is obviously comprised of individuals with lightning fast reflexes...
...for those found in retirement homes.



Family Guy's great, isn't it? :P

What's graphic about a man brandishing a shotgun while his accomplice holds a captive woman in place? Ads shown in unrestricted media have to tread lightly. You'll see firefights in movie trailers at 7pm on TV (pre-watershed) but I've yet to see anyone actually get shot in one.

The news is different as they show what they do under the guise of informing. And they'll warn you if what they're going to show could be disturbing.

Interestingly, the ad as shown in the Graun has tape over her mouth but the little pic in the GP article does not. Could GP be using a censored version of the advert from an American source? (If so, very odd thing to censor.)

Just to wave a little white flag though: God, people will complain about anything. Give it a rest, Middle England. Polish immigrants will put up posters on buildings in predominantly Asian estates advertising things you don't like for teenagers you don't understand and if you insist on wishing that the country could go back to the rose-tinted version of the 1940's you remember then we'll just have to disconnect your TV, ban you from Tesco's and randomly shout warnings in the middle of the night that your houses are going to be bombed.

No offense to the British, but WTF, is going on over there that FMV's get banned from commercials and an add being banned 5 months late?

What's next Solent Green getting banned?

@Canary Wundaboy

fake nude pics of Roseanne? that's gross dude.

(Eli Vance): Good... god...


Rosanne Bar.Weird dude.

I thought this story was funny.

... how much distress could you possibly be put through from seeing a poster?

I don't see the point in banning an ad for a bad game.

@ Centurion

You just gave me a idea on why, maybe they did it to keep a really crappy game from widing up in childrens hands.


It's not that bad (yet) just the very small minority having a fit about a self perceived threat as always

on the plus side, if they want to waste energy banning adverts long out of date and beyond relevance, let them... I'm glad they're wasting their time on such pointless things instead of anything current :)

This is not an attack on video games. The ASA is really strict on ads on this country. They ban alot of ads for weird reasons rember doing a report in 6th form on them once and they banned an orange ad for featureing a horse in a way where it would chose a product.

Honestly, I partially support this. Since the ad was in a magazine whose target audience is an older demographic, I am more accepting of it. If the readers have a problem, it is their responsibility to take that to the magazine, not some outside governing body and that body has no reason to intervene. The ad being run in proper places, magazines gear for older groups for instance, is fine, as long as some governing body is keeping magazines freely sold to all ages from containing literal pornographic or overtly violent images.

I do take issue with the original ad for Kane and Lynch in which the woman had the duct tape on her mouth and was crying when that ad was on display inside video game stores. Being placed outside of the covers of a magazine and in a spot meant to draw attention from people of all ages is something that concerns me, and while I still don't support involvement from an outside body, I do expect the people who placed the advertising in that spot or chose to display that image so openly to act more responsibly.

Well I may think the is rather tasteless and represents the game in a bad light. The reasoning to have the ads removed is flimsy at best and would not hold water a debate tournament. Unless 26 complaints are the majority and/ or there argument is reasonable; the whole thing is stupid.
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