The Advertising Standards Authority here in the UK has ruled against Microsoft concerning a television advert for the Xbox 360 which featured a woman with half a head watching a movie being streamed via the games console. So what could possibly be the problem with that?
Maybe there should have been a bloody big warning banner saying "your movie viewing experience could be ruined by the red rings of death" displayed on screen?
Nope, actually it was all down to a single, solitary viewer who complained that the advert was misleading. Even the banned iPhone adverts managed to get two complaints, so this one could not really have been that bad, could it? Well no, not really, as it happens.
It seems the problem was that the advert "failed to clarify that any downloaded movies were only available for 14 days or alternatively 24 hours after 'Play' had been pressed."
Ah, I see, so this was a case of idiot user syndrome then. Even the woman with half a head in the advert probably had enough brain left to realise that the downloaded movie was not going to be hers to keep for a couple of quid's worth of Xbox Live credits.
But the good old ASA disagreed with Microsoft which explained that "it was possible to download movies as the ad suggested and it was not in their view unreasonable to expect certain conditions to be attached to the purchase of the downloaded content."
Indeed, the terms and conditions are made pretty clear at the point of purchase and you simply cannot download movies without being aware of the 14-day rental licence. Even if you had managed to stumble past the rental pricing for the movie compared to the purchase cost of a DVD.
The ASA, however, noted that "the ad did not state that movies, once downloaded, could be kept indefinitely but considered that this could be the interpretation that some viewers would take." yes, stupid ones.
"...we considered that the time limitation to play downloaded movies and the fact that they were being rented rather than bought were significant conditions that should have been clarified in the ad" the ASA concluded, adding that without that information "the ad could mislead."
As a result the advert can no longer be shown in the UK.
The full ASA adjudication in this case can be found here.