Sony Ponders Suing Over UK Early Death Ad

The UK's Change4Life campaign, which links playing video games with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, could draw legal fire from Sony for using a PlayStation-like controller in their print ad.

The magazine ad in question features a young boy obviously not enjoying himself while holding a dual analog wireless controller, similar to that used with the PlayStation 3 and its predecessor. The print warns that even healthy-looking inactive children risk cancer, diabetes, and heart disease once the reach adulthood. UK industry website MCV indicates that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is currently considering legal action against the ad creators.

A source close to Sony revealed to MCV that the agency behind the ad, The Gate, had not contacted the platform holder to ask about using a controller that bears a close likeness to PlayStation's pad.


While I fully agree with the Change4Life mission of insuring that UK children maintain an active lifestyle, I don't appreciate the connotation that video games are a direct cause of that not happening. Despite the controller definitely not being a standard PlayStation issue, as seen below in the larger version of the advertisement provided by Negative Gamer, I think SCEE has every right to take action against an advertisement that basically equates their product with dead children.

Illustration for article titled Sony Ponders Suing Over UK Early Death Ad

Sony considering legal action over Change4Life ad [MCV]


As much as I hate the litigious nature of modern life, Sony has a right to protect their brand. That's clearly a Playstation controller in the kid's hands, what with the symmetrical analog sticks and four shoulder buttons, but most people won't look that closely, because they don't need to. Most everyone has either held, or in the case of parents, purchased that controller at one point or another, as the PS2 was pretty much ubiquitous at its peak.

The real draw is the word DEATH. This ad seems pretty extreme, almost like the "Truth" campaign we have in the States to keep the kids off cigarettes. Difference being, cigs really do kill people. As will inactivity, so the intention of the ad is noble... but it's not difficult to mock up a fake controller (or buy some old, wacky third-party one and paint it) to reference "video games" in general.