EA warned to clarify in-game purchases after ad breaches guidelines

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an EA mobile game ad for failing to clearly disclose the presence of in-game purchases, specifically loot boxes.

The regulator ruled that simply stating the game included in-app purchases was insufficient, as loot boxes involve purchasing random items, which is considered critical information for users.

Subscribe to Mobile Marketing Magazine

Click here to get the latest marketing news free in your inbox every Thursday

The ASA ruled that the ad, which contained text at the bottom of the video which stated, “Includes optional in-game purchases (includes random items)” violated the UK’s Non-Broadcast Code due to the brief appearance, small size and light grey font of the text against a bright, moving background.

As a result, the ad cannot appear in its current form, and EA must ensure future ads clearly state the presence of randomised in-game purchases.

The ASA ruled: “We therefore found the background creative distorted the appearance of the text and, in combination with the quick-moving nature of the video clips, made it difficult to read the text, which we considered was material information to consumers.

“Because the presentation of the text within the context of the ad overall was not presented clearly, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead consumers to the presence of loot boxes within the game.”