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Moderately misleading Wii U ad removed

Sort of suggests all games can be switched from the TV to GamePad on a whim.

A UK television ad for the Wii U has been pulled due to being misleading, if only just.

The ad - shown below - portrayed a player switching from playing New Super Mario Bros U on a TV screen to playing on the GamePad. "Say someone wants to watch TV when you're halfway through a game... do both, and everyone's happy," the commercial claimed.

Sounds like a pretty reasonable way to demonstrate one of the console's defining characteristics, right? Well wrong, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

A complaint came in that the ad was misleading in that it implies this feature is included in all games, when if fact it's up to third-party developers to implement this and not a universal feature available in all software.

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Nintendo of Europe did not believe the ad was misleading. According to the ASA, Nintendo said, "the Wii U console hardware did allow users to switch from playing games on their TV to playing on the GamePad, but that this was dependent on the feature being incorporated into the game's software and would obviously vary from game to game."

The company noted that this wasn't the only feature shown off in the ad that varies from game to game. The ad also showed how players could shoot objects at the screen and use the GamePad to input codes. The ASA noted Nintendo, "did not believe that the ad required qualification as they did not believe the average consumer viewing the ad would believe that the feature was available on all games."

Clearcast Advertising likewise defended the commercial, noting that it highlighted the capabilities of the console with various games and there was nothing in the ad to imply that these features applied to every game rather than specific titles.

Unfortunately, the ASA sided with the complainant and the ad was found to have breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 (Qualification).

"We considered that the option to switch gameplay to the GamePad controller could be available on all games, and as this was a new console consumers would not have an awareness of whether this was something specific to individual games or a general feature of the console," wrote the ASA. "We considered that, in this context, the ad should have made clear that this feature would not be available on all games. Because it did not, we concluded the ad was misleading."

As such, it was mandated that "The ad must not appear again in its current form."

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.