New York, NY – July 28, 2023 – Following a challenge brought by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs as part of its routine monitoring program, Magic Tavern, Inc. discontinued certain advertising used to promote a mobile video game called Project Makeover.
The advertising, appearing in digital advertising and on YouTube, depicts a female character who faces rejection and ridicule because her physical appearance changes from “pretty” to “ugly.” Notably, the transition to ugly is highlighted by a notable change in the female character’s clothing, hygiene, and make-up. All these physical changes to the female character are accompanied by a drastic visible change in how the male character in the advertising responds to her.
NAD determined that the challenged advertising depicts harmful negative gender stereotypes about a woman’s appearance because it portrays women as helpless and social outcasts if they fail to maintain a feminine appearance conveying a misleading message that to be treated fairly, women must present themselves in a specific, feminine way. Additionally, NAD noted that the challenged advertisements do not reflect actual gameplay and that the negative stereotypes appear to be used only for shock value, to attract attention to the game.
During the proceeding, Magic Tavern discontinued the advertising and represented that it will not use similar advertisements in the future. However, because Magic Tavern was aware of the continued dissemination of the advertising by third parties, NAD recommended that the advertiser take steps to request removal of its discontinued advertising from third-party websites.
In its advertiser statement, Magic Tavern stated that it “will comply with the NAD’s recommendations.” Magic Tavern also stated that it, prior to NAD’s monitoring inquiry, “took steps to discontinue the challenged ads and took various additional steps, including implementing a revised set of creative guidelines for ads and conducting an additional review of creatives served by (or on behalf of) Magic Tavern.”
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