The ITC (Independent Television Commission) has ordered Microsoft to pull a television advertisement for its Xbox games console after receiving 136 complaints from viewers who felt it was "Offensive, shocking, and in bad taste".
Helena Hird, a spokeswoman for the ITC, told PC Advisor, "Viewers pointed out issues that were problematic and their complaints were upheld because of the considerable distress it caused." She added, "We don’t like using words like 'ban', but the advert may not be re-shown in its current form."
The commercial made by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, starts with a woman giving birth to a baby boy. Immediately after the birth the baby is shot out of a window, ages rapidly while flying through the air screaming, then ends his journey crashing into his own grave as an old man. The advertisement is anchored with the tagline "Life is short. Play more".
Some of the complainants, including a pregnant woman and a new mother, objected in particular to the childbirth scene, while most thought the final scene showing the body crashing into a grave was extremely disturbing and insensitive.
The Bacc (Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre) defended the advertiser adding that the message was intended as a "positive statement about life" but the ITC disagreed and reminded the Bacc of the need to be "sensitive about references to death in advertisements".
Microsoft issued an apology to those who were disturbed by the ad.
It said in a statement: "We have been asked by the ITC to remove [the ad] from television in the UK only due to a minority of viewers who complained about the commercial. It will no longer be aired on television, but will remain available online and is also available for use in cinema. We did not set out to offend any viewers, and apologise if we have done so."