Nokia has been banned from showing seven ads for the N-Gage system by the the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Those who complained said the ads were "offensive and distressing in its depiction of violence and crime, especially to those who saw it in areas where they faced an increased possibility of assault". The ASA agreed saying the ads were "likely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to readers".
One advertisement showed a photograph of an alleyway at night. The text stated "This is where I took on three guys ... and made them cry like babies." A second advertisement featured a a changing room with lockers and the text "This is where I made Kev look small". A third advertisement showed a photograph of a doorway in a run-down building. The text in the middle of the advertisement stated "This is where I cut them down to size". A fourth ad showed a large, isolated caravan in front of a row of tall pine trees. The text stated "This is where I left Kate, Lucy and Michelle begging for more". A fifth advertisement showed a photograph of a road and a lit bus shelter at night with the text "This is where I got further with Lara than anyone else." A sixth advertisement appeared as a PG rated cinema commercial. In the first scene, the camera panned in on a car park. The text "This is where they ran me down" then appeared on the screen. The last banned ad showed a tent in the woods. The text stated "This is where I hunted them down".
In a statement Nokia apologised for those offended by the advertising campaign.
"Our sole aim was to produce advertising that supported the multiplayer capabilities
of the N-Gage platform and used typical gaming language and imagery to reflect
The advertisement featured locations where gaming was possible, and that the scenes did not depict victims. They said the text "This is where they ran me down" referred to losing a driving game and "This is where I cried for help" referred to a gamer's frustration in being unable to reach the next gaming level.
Samples from N-Gage ads
(Images from n-gage.com)