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Advertising standards for kids in virtual worlds?

08.10.07

According to an article in Virtual Worlds News the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has decided that advertisements aimed at kids within VWs are allowed as long as it happens on “sponsored land or sponsored activities”, meaning that ads in public spaces such as clubs or hangouts are restricted.

Quite an interesting viewpoint, given that most of the VW’s for kids are entirely sponsored at this point. How do you define a public space in a branded world such as Barbie Girls (owned by moloch Mattel), where everything is branded? Or other VW’s that contain sponsored clubs or hangouts (Dutch bank Postbank opened a lounge in Habbo Hotel, actualy aimed at teachin kids how to earn, save and deal with money - its education combined with commerce!). Now lets not forget these VW’s are platforms, channels and thus why not forbid commercials aimed at kids on television or banners on kids websites?

Its a dubious distinction.



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