ASA bans "misleading" Gardenscapes and Homescapes Facebook ads

Only 0.03% of players reach the end content.

ASA bans "misleading" Gardenscapes and Homescapes Facebook ads

Two Facebook ads for Playrix's Homescapes and Gardenscapes have been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

As detailed by the ASA, seven people complained about the ads seen on Facebook as they believed them to be misleading.

Playrix has insisted that the content included in the advertisements does appear in its games. However, as explained by the company, Gardenscapes and Homescapes feature 5,895 and 4,160 levels respectively with only 0.03 per cent of players reaching the end content.

The gameplay witnessed in the Facebook ads only became available earlier this year, and are found in the later levels. Playrix has claimed that only 45 per cent of players reach level 20, with 18 per cent hitting level 100, meaning the vast majority of users do not reach the mini-games.

Currently, there are around 10 mini-games in Homescapes, which are found once every 10 levels. For the most part, Playrix's titles adopt match-three elements.

False advertising

"We acknowledged that the ads included text which stated 'Not all images represent actual gameplay', and we therefore considered consumers would understand that the exact gameplay featured may not necessarily be available," wrote ASA.

"We nevertheless considered consumers would expect the Homescapes and Gardenscapes games would consist of a similar problem solving style. However, we understood that the Homescapes and Gardenscapes games in large part consisted of gameplay which involved a storyline about the renovation of a cartoon house or garden and ‘match-three’ style puzzle games."

ASA continued: "We understood users would play a significant amount of content which was of a different style in order to access the gameplay featured in the ads. We considered that the time limits placed on Facebook ads were of a sufficient length that the advertiser was able to feature content that was reflective of the overall games.

"Because the ads were not representative of the games they were purported to feature, we concluded that they were misleading."

As of May 2020, Playrix's mobile games library has accumulated 1.1 billion downloads.

Staff Writer

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