The advert showed a man handing down a game to his son whilst telling him the history behind his ownership of it, upon receiving the game the son takes it to a Game store and asks an employee, “Can I trade this please?”, with the employee replying, “Sure”. The complainant added they “thought PC games were excluded” from the offer.
Clearcast, the makers of the ad, said they were very clear to not reference any particular game, format or generation. The company said the purpose of the advert was to “make light and bring humour to what was basically a boring transactional function”. Clearcast said: “PC game exclusion was not a known condition at script stage”.
When contacted by the ASA, Game confirmed its trade-in offer excluded PC games and said that they classed games from “two console generations ago or more” as “retro” and also did not accept these as part of the offer.
Despite the ASA deciding that “consumers were unlikely to regard [the advert] as realistic or illustrative of any particular game or type of game that Game would accept for trade in”. The regulatory body said “the fact there were restrictions on the types of products that Game would accept for trade-in” meant the advert was “misleading”.
The ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Game Retail Ltd to ensure they made significant conditions and limitations clear in their advertising, including the exclusion of certain types of products from the trade-in offer.”