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iPhone advert pulled by ASA

iPhone advert pulled by ASA

Jobs might be proud of his touch-screen baby, but he'd better run his next advert by the ASA lest his superlatives run away with him.

The Advertising Standards Authority has officially chastised Apple over its claims that Internet access on the second-generation 3G iPhone is “really fast,” stating that the company needs to pull its advertising pronto.

According to BetaNews, the ruling by the advertising industry's self-regulatory body states that the company has violated three sections of the BCAP TV Advertising Code: the provision of adequate objective evidence to support claims made during an advertisement; descriptions, claims, and illustrations that do not imply attributes or performance beyond that achievable in normal usage; and no sneakily using techniques that “is likely to give a misleading or unfair impression of the product or service.

The Authority, acting on seventeen complaints from members of the public, decided that Apple's use of split-second load times in the demonstration provided during the advert along with the voice over stating that news, directions, and Internet access are all “really fast” on the new device contravened the code enough to require the advert to be pulled and re-worked before it can be broadcast again. In particular, the Authority ruled that no objective evidence to support the claims of “really fast” Internet access was provided.

Replying to the Authority's adjudication, Apple claimed that the superlatives used during the advertisment were merely a comparison with the previous 2G version of the iPhone. Additionally, the use of fine print across the bottom of the 30-second slot stating that “network performance will vary by location” absolved them of the need to provide objective evidence for the speed possibilities. Sadly the for company, the Authority disagreed: stating that “the ad did not give an explicit indication of a comparison with the older 2G iPhone” and that Apple must not show the advert in its current form again.

Do you believe that Apple's use of split-second wait times during the advert was deliberately misleading, or has the ASA been a trifle harsh in its ruling? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
chiper136 27th November 2008, 09:03 Quote
When are they going to pull Oil of Olay adds for not really making 60 year olds look 20. Or Xbox adds for not putting a 'has a 1:3 chance of red ringing on you' on the screen.

Seems a little too much to me.
StephenK 27th November 2008, 09:06 Quote
Interesting. Has anyone seen the app store advert? They cut the time it takes to buy and install an app, removing steps to make it look easy and fast. The entire ad hinges on how 'this is how you buy and install and app, see how simple and fast it is? this will change everything' and then at the very end you get the disclaimer 'steps removed from actual process' or something like that. Is reality getting in the way of how cool they want their product to look?
p3n 27th November 2008, 09:16 Quote
Can't say I use 3g much apart from maps (which works fine on 1g, just abit slow :p) - silly claims really though as it depends so much on network conditions.
LAGMonkey 27th November 2008, 09:22 Quote
its almost as bad as an intel advert i see (and then immediatly start shouting at) on TV here in canada.
Its got some ditty bint holding the core and saying that "this little thing uses less energy and saves my battery...i dont know how it does it but it does."

After that its the end of the advert. NOTHING on the bottom of the screen and no comparason. It boils my piss i tell you!

EDIT:: the intel core is a Centreno 2 and it dosnt even say which one!!!
Mentai 27th November 2008, 09:26 Quote
Isn't the internet a lot slower than it should be on the iphones 3g network? I've heard a lot of complaints. Imo if a device is only going to function as advertised for a very small portion of the userbase, as I imagine it does in this case, then yes, the ad should be reworked.
Phil Rhodes 27th November 2008, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Has anyone seen the app store advert?

"Sequence altered and steps removed", I think. Bloody chancers.
D B 27th November 2008, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
split-second load times in the demonstration provided during the advert along with the voice over stating that news, directions, and Internet access are all “really fast”
Quote:
Sequence altered and steps removed

Demonstrating traits that dont exhist to make buy something is wrong , and makes my blood boil
identikit 27th November 2008, 12:02 Quote
Wow, adverts make a lot of body fluids boil these days! I remember back in the day when ads took it easy.
Bauul 27th November 2008, 12:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiper136
When are they going to pull Oil of Olay adds for not really making 60 year olds look 20. Or Xbox adds for not putting a 'has a 1:3 chance of red ringing on you' on the screen.

Seems a little too much to me.

Not at all. The Oil of Olay adverts don't go "this will make you look MUCH younger, REALLY quickly" and then show a video of a 90 year woman putting on cream and suddenly waking up to find she looks 20. There's a scale to these things, and Apple went too far. Even on a bloody wifi the iPhone doesn't load pages that quickly, so yes I fully agree with the ASA's decision.
kenco_uk 27th November 2008, 12:05 Quote
Aye, like 'buy this, it's fantastic and much better than our competitor's load of old tripe, plus it'll make your sex life completely awesome'
Flibblebot 27th November 2008, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Not at all. The Oil of Olay adverts don't go "this will make you look MUCH younger, REALLY quickly" and then show a video of a 90 year woman putting on cream and suddenly waking up to find she looks 20.
No, but the beauty industry is guilty of misusing statistics to make their products sound better. They say things like "90% of women tested said they saw an improvement in the shape of their knees" with a line at the bottom of the screen saying that the 90% was from a sample of twenty women. Now, last time I did stats, a sample size of twenty will not provide any statistically significant results. But the ASA doesn't pull any of those ads...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
There's a scale to these things, and Apple went too far. Even on a bloody wifi the iPhone doesn't load pages that quickly, so yes I fully agree with the ASA's decision.
I noticed the "some steps removed" on the apps ad the other night, and laughed. But my point is that most adverts these days are misleading in one way or another.
mrb_no1 27th November 2008, 15:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
No, but the beauty industry is guilty of misusing statistics to make their products sound better. They say things like "90% of women tested said they saw an improvement in the shape of their knees" with a line at the bottom of the screen saying that the 90% was from a sample of twenty women. Now, last time I did stats, a sample size of twenty will not provide any statistically significant results. But the ASA doesn't pull any of those ads...

true that the stats are all wrong (like the chicago town pizza tasting better than a takeaway pizza a majority agreed or something like that...their sample was 401 people, and 201 people thought it tasted better than a takeaway) it just a manipulation and i give credit to the individuals who think up the wording and 'testing'/samplying that backs up advert claims as its clever.

but the point with that olay, is that 90% of the women who used it did see an improvement, its not misleading if you believe everything you hear. Another example is johnsons saying that 95% of midwives use johnsons baby bath lotion bla bla, i asked my sister, a midwife, she told me that johnsons give away loads of free baby gear to midwives, so yes they do all use it but because its free. so is johnsons lying, no, but its just advertising.

Advertising will always be like this as they are trying to make you buy something, so it has to be better, or acredited by someone. even if they only make you buy it once, it still does its job. If you read every advert or watch an olay advert and think bugga, i can make my misses look like a 20 year old again then ha ha ha ha ha you monkey, if olay was that effective then an industry for cosmetic surgery wouldn't exist cos i've got a pill i just made to make womens booobs appear bigger* :P

oh and chiper 136, so long as microsoft dont claim 50% reliability or higher on the 360 then they arent doing anything wrong, as they arent selling you a console for its reliability, they sell it on the basis that you can use it to play games, which it can, and if it breaks in warranty they will repair it.

As for apple, they should have said that the internet is remarkably quicker than previous generations of mobile phones that utilise web browsing. or something like that. But i agree with asa, they are bang on and its just a bit sloppy from a company like apply to make such a boo boo imo.

*results vary depending on female body chemistry.

sorry for the rant, but the ignorance of some shoppers is frustrating, oh and there probably are some typos, i just came off a 12hr so you can keep 'em

peace

fatman
ParaHelix.org 27th November 2008, 16:31 Quote
I don't see how the ASA can pull something for a qualitative phrase, now if they were stating specific speeds then yes, but this seems ridiculous.
Nexxo 27th November 2008, 17:05 Quote
Caveat Emptor: let the buyer beware. If you are going to part with up to £159,-- of your hard-earned cash and lock yourself into an 18-month contract into the bargain, aren't you at least going to play a bit with the item first? See if it lives up to your expectations? There are plenty of demonstration units for you to fondle at the Apple and O2 shop.

If you are too lazy to do that, just browse over to some of the many iPhone reviews that litter the intertubez. If you are too lazy to do even that, you probably can't afford an iPhone anyway because your employment history probably involves a lot of sitting on the sofa all day, chainsmoking black-market fags, drinking White Lighting cider and watching Jeremy Kyle.
n3mo 27th November 2008, 22:50 Quote
Come on, advertising is 90% of all that Apple is doing. I mean, they can't provide a really good phone or music player (ipods are popular, which still doesn't make them good - my 5 year old Sony MZ-R909 sounds MUCH better than anything Apple could ever make) so they must throw loads of ca$h into ads to sell junk to people too lazy/dumb to understand what they buy (omg, this is sooo shiny and Tv said that this is cool so it must be awesome).
Buzzons 28th November 2008, 00:11 Quote
yay apple got bitched finally for this!
Nexxo 28th November 2008, 21:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
Come on, advertising is 90% of all that Apple is doing. I mean, they can't provide a really good phone or music player (ipods are popular, which still doesn't make them good - my 5 year old Sony MZ-R909 sounds MUCH better than anything Apple could ever make) so they must throw loads of ca$h into ads to sell junk to people too lazy/dumb to understand what they buy (omg, this is sooo shiny and Tv said that this is cool so it must be awesome).

Yeah, 100 million iPods sold. Must all be bought by gullible fools seduced by glossy advertising.

n3mo, it's for you. Reality calling.
wuyanxu 29th November 2008, 11:54 Quote
the real world Wi-fi speed compared with this iPhone advert

although this advert was misleading, with the new 2.2 firmware, it seems the Appstore apps advert are pretty close.

but installing apps is a pain, and the lack of managing or folders is such a fail on Apple's part. so i say to other iPhone users: Jailbreak your phone and enjoy hacked solutions (as always) better than native ones provided by Apple.
StephenK 2nd December 2008, 12:47 Quote
Quote:
100 million iPods sold. Must all be bought by gullible fools seduced by glossy advertising.

To be fair though... how may packets of Cigarettes sold to young people (i.e not yet addicted)

Or those tv shopping channel products? Miricle hair regrowers, etc etc etc. Never underestimate the power of the right marketing on the right audience.
Nexxo 2nd December 2008, 19:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
To be fair though... how may packets of Cigarettes sold to young people (i.e not yet addicted)

Or those tv shopping channel products? Miricle hair regrowers, etc etc etc. Never underestimate the power of the right marketing on the right audience.

A better comparison would be with brand name clothing: Nike, Adidas, Puma... Are they really worth their price? To some extent they are overpriced, but then again if you try on a generic pair of trainers I guarantee you will notice a distinct difference. Or how about cars then: how is an Audi's higher price justified compared to a Ford? A Ford is by no means a bad car (anymore), and it gets you from A to B, right? But I know which one you'd prefer.

There is always the hype of exclusivity and brand labeling, but generally premium products are such for a reason. People have a choice from some very good MP3 players: Creative Zen, Microsoft Zune, iRiver to name a few. But there is a snag:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Pirillo
Should I be using Napster, URGE, or Zune? Should I be using the Clix or the Zune? Should I be using Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune Marketplace software? There are too many choices, many of which are not interoperable, coming to me from the same company: Microsoft. Instead of simplifying the market, they’ve made it slightly more complicated with Zune (and likely pissed off countless partners in the process).

So, on one hand, I’m being told that URGE in combo with WMP is the way to go. On the other hand, I’m being told that Zune (hardware, software, subscription) is the way to go. I certainly appreciate that there’s somewhat of a unified experience with Zune, but… now I have one more subscription to worry about… one more piece of software to worry about… and yet more choices that seem to completely nullify earlier efforts of Microsoft (itself) and its partners.

That I can see, there’s no clear cross-over between the Zune and Windows Media Center, for me to take my recorded shows on the go (since the Zune plays video). There’s no interaction with any other Microsoft product other than Windows. There’s no path to personalized media (podcasting, DVD ripping, etc.). In the interviews I’ve read, all of this is by design.

MS Zune won't play nice with MS Urge or WMP. Creative Zen and iRiver can use Napster, Urge and many other music stores but won't play nice with Zune software. iPods have the edge because of the whole seamless iTunes/syncing package. Microsoft guarantees compatibility through its PlaysForSure label; with Apple such a label is not even necessary. You just install iTunes and plug in your iPod. iTunes starts, you buy/import your tracks, and the whole thing syncs. Automatically. And charges while you're at it.

And then there are the controls. Many other brands have developed alternatives (in iRiver's case, some really creative alternatives) but nothing beats the click-wheel.

Sorry. Call it marketing hype if you want, but it's still denial: Apple just makes really slick MP3 players.
StephenK 2nd December 2008, 22:20 Quote
Couldn't agree more that Apple make lovely mp3 players and beautiful laptops too. Still think my powerbook is sexy. Their closed compatibility system appeals to a lot of people who just want something that works, hassle free. My point was merely that a good product (which they have) isn't actually all there is to selling millions. In the designer label example you mentioned above, why is most of Nike's budget spent on advertising? For running i use a pair of Asics Gels and they are just as comfortable as my pair of Nike trainers but all the top sports people wear Nike or Adidas etc, so they sell more.

Apple's product designs and good quality products (build quality is very high usually) gave the ad people something to sell but I reckon that a large portion of ipod sales are due to good marketing and strong brand equity. iPod is synonymous with mp3 player for a lot of people and I don't think thats mostly because of how good they are, but how Popular they are due to the right marketing.
Nexxo 3rd December 2008, 14:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
Couldn't agree more that Apple make lovely mp3 players and beautiful laptops too. Still think my powerbook is sexy. Their closed compatibility system appeals to a lot of people who just want something that works, hassle free. My point was merely that a good product (which they have) isn't actually all there is to selling millions. In the designer label example you mentioned above, why is most of Nike's budget spent on advertising? For running i use a pair of Asics Gels and they are just as comfortable as my pair of Nike trainers but all the top sports people wear Nike or Adidas etc, so they sell more.

Apple's product designs and good quality products (build quality is very high usually) gave the ad people something to sell but I reckon that a large portion of ipod sales are due to good marketing and strong brand equity. iPod is synonymous with mp3 player for a lot of people and I don't think thats mostly because of how good they are, but how Popular they are due to the right marketing.

The best way to get to the bottom of this is to do a 2x2 comparison:

[PHP] Heavy marketing Low marketing
-------------------------------------------------
Good product | | |
-------------------------+----------------------
Bad product | | |
-------------------------------------------------[/PHP]


How many good £100,-- (or more) products do you know that sold 100 million despite lack of marketing?

How many bad £100,-- (or more) products do you know that have sold 100 million just through marketing alone?
StephenK 3rd December 2008, 17:48 Quote
Point taken. Lots of designer clothing is of quite poor quality but sells a lot. That'd be marketing mostly. It's almost impossible to sell 100 million of a bad product but selling a hundred million doesnt happen without serious marketing. Lots of the first wave of sales happen due to marketing buzz, not the quality of the product. The ipod continues to sell well because its a good product but every new model gets the WOW marketing to pull in people who just want the next cool thing and quality is irrelevant. Either way, as fond as I am of my mp3 player and my laptop, I know that part of the purchasing decision was based not on the item or the specs but on the marketing. Theres also the question of what a good product is, sticking with apple, lots of people were unimpressed with the first (even as a mac fan i admit its very weak) iphone but it sold 3 million in its first month... Theres also an important element of who the purchaser is, a large quantity of personal electronic sales are gift purchases. So every Christmas lots of ipods sell simply, perhaps, because parents know the word 'ipod'.
Nexxo 3rd December 2008, 21:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
Point taken. Lots of designer clothing is of quite poor quality but sells a lot. That'd be marketing mostly. It's almost impossible to sell 100 million of a bad product but selling a hundred million doesnt happen without serious marketing. Lots of the first wave of sales happen due to marketing buzz, not the quality of the product. The ipod continues to sell well because its a good product but every new model gets the WOW marketing to pull in people who just want the next cool thing and quality is irrelevant. Either way, as fond as I am of my mp3 player and my laptop, I know that part of the purchasing decision was based not on the item or the specs but on the marketing.
Perhaps where we disagree is on what we refer to as 'marketing' and what as 'object value'. They are not the same thing, although they have the same end: putting the product in the public consciousness and enticing people to desire and acquire it. Marketing is the process of publicity; object value is the result of product design.

Think of, say, Avril Lavigne (or any pop starlet of your choice). The reason people buy her music is in part because she is marketed to a certain teenage crowd, but this marketing works because she (and her music) is designed to appeal to them. Girls want to be her and boys just want her --but I doubt people evaluate her vocal talents as critically as her looks.

Apple products have object value in spades. They are designed to be slicker than a bowl of snot. The marketing takes it a step further: cool people own cool Apple products ("I'm a PC..." "I'm a Mac", remember?). But the marketing would not work if Apple products didn't look or behave cool. Compare an Apple commercial with one of PC World: in the former you see shiny hip things use their Apple product to do all sorts of cool gee-whizzy stuff; in the latter a nerdy salesman tells a couple how they can store photos on their large 250Gb hard drive in their Intel Pentium (ta-dum-ta-dum) driven PC. It is as clunky as the product they sell.

Microsoft has caught on to that, so now they have a hip young girl talking about how she is too busy mixing her own album in her garage on her (Windows) PC to cry about her boyfriend dumping her (who, judging by her looks must be either insane or gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide), and they have the "I'm a PC..." anti-Mac commercial where a lot of diverse, cool, exciting, groovy and sympathico-in-their-down-to-earth-ordinariness folk are confessing to being die-hard Windows PC users. But the important point is this: they talk about all this, but you don't see them doing it. Because watching a Windows PC at work is kind of unexciting, like a French film about relationships: there's plot, there's character development, but it's kind of slow and you keep watching for the car chase and special effects. Whereas watching an Apple product at work is like a techo-fetish pr0n fest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
Theres also the question of what a good product is, sticking with apple, lots of people were unimpressed with the first (even as a mac fan i admit its very weak) iphone but it sold 3 million in its first month... Theres also an important element of who the purchaser is, a large quantity of personal electronic sales are gift purchases. So every Christmas lots of ipods sell simply, perhaps, because parents know the word 'ipod'.
Unimpressed they may have been, but every damn touch-screen phone out there is an iPhone rip-off. True. Even Google Android looks suspiciously similar. Even HTC finds the need to piggy-back its own iPhone-esque interface on top of Windows Mobile. Imitation is still the best form of flattery because nobody has been able to design a GUI as good, let alone better.
Smilodon 3rd December 2008, 21:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
(...)with Apple such a label is not even necessary. You just install iTunes and plug in your iPod. (...)

This is exactly where iPods fails. You need some POS software to make it work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
It's almost impossible to sell 100 million of a bad product but selling a hundred million doesnt happen without serious marketing. Lots of the first wave of sales happen due to marketing buzz, not the quality of the product. (...)

True. This is how for example Acer have gotten as "big" as they have. Bad products with even worse warranties. People still but them because they are cheap (And because the provision-paid salesman told them exactly what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear).



Let's face it people, companies want ONE thing: Money. It's really that simple.
StephenK 3rd December 2008, 22:15 Quote
In my opinion Apple's new image is probably one of the most important things to happen in the world of tech in the last ten years. They made tech cool. Made it mainstream. Made it accessible. I think you're right, we're using the word marketing in a different way. Forgive me, as an ex-marketing student I have a tendency to group a whole pile of stuff under that word. New product development, brand creation and product design all fall under marketing for me. The shiny interface and pretty case is as much a part of the marketing process as the adverts where I come from.
whisperwolf 3rd December 2008, 22:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo


Unimpressed they may have been, but every damn touch-screen phone out there is an iPhone rip-off. True. Even Google Android looks suspiciously similar. Even HTC finds the need to piggy-back its own iPhone-esque interface on top of Windows Mobile. Imitation is still the best form of flattery because nobody has been able to design a GUI as good, let alone better.

erm I've been using my o2 orbit since about 6 months before the iPhone came out. and yes I installed spb mobile shell on it again before the iPhone came out. infact every shell interface for wm6 I've seen look rather like spb's offering. the iPhone's is better not disputing that, but it was never the first and therefore not every touch phone is copying it.
Nexxo 4th December 2008, 21:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilodon
This is exactly where iPods fails. You need some POS software to make it work.
Exactly how is iTunes a POS?

And Winamp works with iPods too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilodon
This is how for example Acer have gotten as "big" as they have. Bad products with even worse warranties. People still but them because they are cheap (And because the provision-paid salesman told them exactly what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear).

Let's face it people, companies want ONE thing: Money. It's really that simple.
Of course they do. The smart ones know how to target a market and moreover, how to keep it.

Acer may sell cheap stuff, but the low-income student, self-employed person or family who just need a basic laptop to do their basic word processing, book keeping and/or web browsing are grateful that they can buy a functional lappy for under £300,--. Not everybody can afford an Apple MacBook or tricked-out gamer's laptop, and not everyone needs one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenK
In my opinion Apple's new image is probably one of the most important things to happen in the world of tech in the last ten years. They made tech cool. Made it mainstream. Made it accessible. I think you're right, we're using the word marketing in a different way. Forgive me, as an ex-marketing student I have a tendency to group a whole pile of stuff under that word. New product development, brand creation and product design all fall under marketing for me. The shiny interface and pretty case is as much a part of the marketing process as the adverts where I come from.
"Object value" is a form of marketing through product design, I suppose.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperwolf
erm I've been using my o2 orbit since about 6 months before the iPhone came out. and yes I installed spb mobile shell on it again before the iPhone came out. infact every shell interface for wm6 I've seen look rather like spb's offering. the iPhone's is better not disputing that, but it was never the first and therefore not every touch phone is copying it.
Yes, but after the iPhone?

Samsung Tocco
Samsung Instinct
LG KE850
LG Dare
HTC Touch
Google Android

Granted, there are only so many ways you can create a usable mobile phone/PDA interface, but you have to admit that conceptually, Apple got there first.
Gareth Halfacree 4th December 2008, 21:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Granted, there are only so many ways you can create a usable mobile phone/PDA interface, but you have to admit that conceptually, Apple got there first.
To tell you the truth, the iPhone has always reminded me of PalmOS.

PalmOS 6

Okay, the iPhone is prettier - but the basics of a grid of icons that are to be activated via a single touch is certainly reminiscent of the iPhone, and predates it by a very long time.
Nexxo 6th December 2008, 19:06 Quote
True. But PalmOS was just a blatant rip of the Apple Newton OS. Who's your daddy?
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