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UK Wii U ad showing GamePad-only play banned as misleading

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The U.K.'s first TV spot for the Wii U has been banned by a regulatory agency for being misleading, reports Wii-Consoles.

The minute-long commercial, which you can view above, highlights the ability to take a Wii U game off the TV and play it entirely on the GamePad — New Super Mario Bros. U, in this case. The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority, an independent watchdog group that maintains advertising regulations in the country, received a complaint about the ad that called it misleading: The complainant charged that the ad implies all Wii U games can be played on the GamePad alone, which is not the case; in fact, the majority of existing Wii U titles don't support the feature.

Nintendo of Europe's U.K. branch defended the ad to the Advertising Standards Authority. Nintendo believes the "average consumer" would understand that the feature isn't necessarily available on all games. And Clearcast, the organization that approves most British advertising prior to its airing on television, saw nothing in the commercial to imply that all features mentioned would work with every Wii U game.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority disagreed, saying that specifically because the Wii U is a new console, consumers watching the ad for the first time couldn't be expected to assume without being directly told that not all exhibited features are available for all games.

"The ad should have made clear that this feature would not be available on all games," reads the Authority's ruling. "Because it did not, we concluded the ad was misleading."

As a result of the decision, the ad "must not appear again in its current form" in the U.K.

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