/ 24 December 2007

Anti-drunk-driving ads to display in video games

The Scottish government said on Monday it will pay to insert advertisements discouraging drinking and driving into video games.

The £10 000 trial project will see the ads appear on virtual billboards within several games for Microsoft Xbox consoles, including Need for Speed: Carbon, Project Gotham Racing IV and NBA Live.

Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson said the number of road accidents is rising, and innovative approaches are needed to reach young people. The government estimates that 73% of Britain’s 15- to 24-year-olds have access to a gaming console at home.

”The technology is non-intrusive, subtle, but the message can be seen in the background, loud and clear,” Stevenson said.

Officials said that if the trial is successful, it could be expanded to include other road-safety messages.

This is not the first time the government has targeted young Britons with in-game ads. In October the intelligence agency GCHQ announced it was seeking new recruits by placing job ads in games such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent. — Sapa-AP