ASA Bans Wii U Advert After Single Complaint

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a Nintendo TV advert after it showed games being played on the GamePad screen. According to sources a single complaint was enough to kickstart the ban, mainly because the GamePad “off TV” function doesn’t work on every single game.

The ASA thinks that the advert suggests it does.


Here’s the advert, which features the line “say someone wants to watch TV when you’re halfway through a game … do both, and everyone’s happy” – the aspect that was the centre of the complaint.

The ASA ruled that the advert suggested this was a core feature of the console rather than game-specific, even though it’s pretty much across the board unless the GamePad is used for something else, like with ZombiU.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 (Qualification).

It’s not the first time the TV advert has been the centre of news – Future’s Computer and Video Games originally thought it featured Brad Pitt due to the way the YouTube clip was edited, although that was later edited after it was pointed out.



  1. This is getting bloody stupid. 1 complaint is now enough to get an advert banned? that is taking the utter pie! Understandable if it was 100, 1000 and so forth but 1? What’s next banning tv shows because of 1 person? Also, why didn’t they ban that annoying fat bloke from the go compare ads when everyone was complaining about him being offensive to the ears? ;)

    Anyway,that was a bit crafty of Ninty and surprising as i wouldn’t have thought they would do that. :O

    • If that 1 person is technically right though isn’t that worth more than 100 people complaining about something they are wrong about?

    • I guess the way to look at it is that it wasn’t banned because of one person. It was just brought to light by one person, and the governing body decided there was grounds to ban.

      Although it may seem petty, I do in some way agree. It is made out like every game is like that. Factor in Zombie U doesn’t do it, and yet is one of the top sellers, it must be a pain if people didn’t (and they often don’t) do their research.

    • It doesn’t require any complaints at all. If the advert falsifies facts or misleads, that is enough. This does, therefore it should not be allowed IMO.

  2. One complaint? Bonkers.

  3. The headline is slightly misguiding if people take that at face value. I’m not complaining if they do, it’s their fault.

    But people must realise that it wasn’t “one complaint” that got this banned. It was one complaint that got the ASA to look into it, and they are the ones that actually banned it.

    If the guy had made a complaint that the trailer made every game look awesome, and they weren’t, the ASA wouldn’t ban. They clearly thought there was reason to put the ban in place and I have to be honest and say I can see where they are coming from.

    • Yep. Agreed. Completely legitimate reason to point out false advertising. Then again, a tweaked ad should be easy enough to churn out for Ninty.

  4. If the GamePad TV off feature doesn’t work on all games then it is false advertising, everyone assumes it would work on every game.

  5. I got the impression everything could be done on the gamepad so I agree with the decision. I’m presuming the complainant did actually buy a Wii U believing they could play anything on the gamepad, so was peeved enough to complain about it.

  6. I agree with others here, doesn’t matter how many complain, if ASA investigate and uphold it then they think there is a problem with the ad. The silly thing is though, the ad will probably just get rereleased with some tiny text at the bottom saying “Does not work with every game”, which no-one will ever read.

  7. they had enough text at the bottom of the screen, it wouldn’t have taken much for them to put a little note to say that feature wasn’t available for all games.
    but they didn’t.

    it also means they could easily run the same ad with a tiny modification to fulfil the ASA’s criteria.

  8. It’s fair enough IMO. Small complaint small change, job done.

  9. “New, from JML”

    Sounds like that guy’s brother

  10. Totally agree with this. I had to really hunt around for facts online before launch as I only wanted games (initially) that supported this feature. I think some icons on the game boxed and website would help. As for this add it needs clear text.

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