The ASA has upheld a complaint against a poster for Sega's Dreamcast, headlined 'Spank Johnny Foreigner Online', saying it could be seen to condone violence against foreigners.
The poster, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, showed images of stereotypical German, French and Spanish males against a background of their national flags, with the phrase 'Play Online.' The ASA upheld the complaint that the poster was racist and offensive.
The advertiser said it had developed the poster to support the launch of online gaming across Europe and to encourage friendly rivalry between participants in different European countries.
Separately, the ASA upheld a complaint by the AA to Direct Line Insurance's press insert for its car breakdown service, and complaints about Virgin Energy's leaflet and press campaign. Powergen, Scottish Power, Yorkshire Electricity and Seeboard challenged a number of Virgin's claims, including that it was the first real alternative to customers' current gas and electricity providers.