Over the last week, several British game industry types have expressed their displeasure over a Change4Life print ad which addresses the issue of childhood obesity by depicting a young boy playing a video game.
Now joining the chorus of those who feel their bread and butter is being unfairly singled out are EA and Ubisoft. Why games? Why not a picture of a kid chowing down on junk food or vegging out in front of the television?
Is there a connection between the ad and the video game industry's failure to donate to the British government's health campaign?
Business4Life is a coalition of corporations who have donated a combined £200 million to Change4Life, money which apparently grants them some influence on the direction of the campaign. These firms include sweets manufacturers Cadbury’s, Mars and Nestle, soda maker's PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, and TV companies BSkyB, Channel 4, five, ITV, Virgin Media and Viacom.
Jane Holdsworth, marketing director of Business4Life spoke to MCV about the lack of participation from game companies:
It’s a shame – a combination of us not having contacts and games companies not coming forward. We would be delighted to have the games industry involved in future. Our members meet regularly with the Department Of Health, and are given opportunity to express opinions about upcoming campaigns – which helps avoid nasty surprises.
It’s irrational and grossly unfair to pick on a single product like that. I’m surprised, because the Department of Health’s own research shows negative advertising is not effective.
For its part, Nintendo has expressed interest in opening up discussions with Business4Life.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...