Apple Smacked Down For Calling iPhone 3G "Really Fast"

from the define-really-and-define-fast dept

An ad for the iPhone 3G has been banned in the UK, after the country's advertising regulator decided that calling the device "really fast" four times in an ad was making deceptive claims about the speed with which it could access the internet. Earlier in the year, Apple had another iPhone ad banned after it said it could access "all parts of the internet." The regulator's action was prompted by 17 complaints from consumers about the ad, though at least one of those who complained after he'd received some poor customer service from Apple says revenge was a factor, and wonders if others had similar motivation. While plenty of complaints about Apple in online forums get ignored or shouted down by the legions of Mac fanboys, at least one guy found a way to make his stick.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dmat, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 2:17am

    I am of two minds on this. On the one hand I like the fact that Apple isn't able to just get away with everything. I don't want it to become another Microsoft and see the OS go down the drain.
    On the other hand I see an incredible fuss being made every time anything seems to not work perfectly. This may be a little biased, but I think Apple gets blamed for mistakes a lot more and a lot faster than any company. Probably partly their fault, they are one of the best known companies around now, with their ad campaigns.
    But I think we just don't make nearly as big a deal of lawsuits like this hitting Dell or IBM. And although the fanboys can be very... energetic in their opinions, a fanbase does not appear for nothing.

     

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  2.  
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    simon, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 2:58am

    iphone.. eveything on net ??

    except at least the flash part, hmmm pretty big hunk of net, and i think silverlight too... so here we go... that's the "revenge" part ?

     

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  3.  
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    SteveD, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 3:09am

    An angry customer is an angry customer, no matter the motivation.

    But this seems a fairly cut&dry situation, with an advertiser misrepresenting the abilities of their product and getting smacked on the nose for it.

    Speed is an important product feature in mobile net devices. If you bought a car after watching it zoom about in an advert only to find it only did 30mph, you might feel a bit cheated too.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael Long, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 3:29am

    Ratio

    According to the numbers, Apple is selling an average of 27,000 iPhones in the UK... PER WEEK. That works out to be roughly a half million phones since launch.

    And they've had 17 complaints.

    Wow. Makes me wonder why didn't you file this story under the making-something-out-of-practically-nothing department?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 3:49am

    the complaints were about the adds not the product.

     

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  6.  
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    Simon, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:01am

    Re:

    This wasn't about something not working perfectly, it was about an advertiser indicating their product could do something it could not. There was no lawsuit. Visit http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/about/ for information on the organization responsible.

     

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  7.  
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    Thom, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:17am

    How is a relativistic claim a problem?

    As I'm currently traveling in London, I'm seeing the iPhone ads on TV with a disclaimer something to the effect of "sequence and speed has been accelerated", or some such legalese.

    If they want to go after Apple because the *NETWORK* cannot possibly function as fast as the events necessary to be squeezed into a :30 spot, that's one thing. It's entirely another to go after them for a relativistic statement like "really fast" As compared to what? My old 1st gen HTC WinMo phone? Abso-friggin-lutely! As compared to my desktop on a hard-wired gigabit Ethernet connection? Well, sure... but that's not the point here, is it?

     

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  8.  
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    Hannah, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:31am

    excellent analysis

    Hi Thom,

    I like how you articulate your views, and substantiate them with researched facts and context. Would you be interested in having people read your analysis? If so, email me at hannahh.kelly@gmail.com

     

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  9.  
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    Matt (profile), Dec 1st, 2008 @ 5:04am

    Re: How is a relativistic claim a problem?

    It's not about speed, you dolt.
    It's about realistic performance. This is why the smart folks don't use intel, the smart folks don't use vista, etc. However, some do get frauded by a fraud ad like apple's.

    Lets use your example. If they said its way faster than an HTC, nobody would have said squat. In fact, it'd probably have been a more effective advertisement.

    If you claim your car can go up to 200 miles per hour when the real max speed is around 120 and don't mention that the "max" is on a downhill, well gee, maybe it can only go as fast as it will go (which might be, say considerably less).

    Essentially even if your Iphone was on a LAN your performance would not match what they did in a commercial. For this occurrence, someone managed to make the complaints about fraudulent advertising known. It's not unlike those McDonalds commercials that use plastic glazed sandwiches to look "amazing" are the same as the real ones, just nobody has been as successful at putting them to the same standard of honesty.

     

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  10.  
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    SteveD, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 5:22am

    Re: How is a relativistic claim a problem?

    It wasn't about a statement, it was about showing the phone doing things like downloading google street maps instantaneously.

    A tech-savy person would probably see it as an exaggeration (and ignore it as such), but there are plenty of people out there who don't know any better and would buy it believing that possible.

     

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  11.  
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    Seatec, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 5:26am

    IPhone commercials

    Has any of you seen the disclaimer that flashes by in the ad foprs the IPHone at least here in the states. It says something like some parts of the operations have been cut out for the purpous of this commcercial meaning that they left several things like waiting for he internet to load and other things you have to do to get the same result they show in the commercial to make it look quick! everyone of you IPHOne users deserve what they get. All this oooohh aaaahh stuff theys how you has been available for years but most of you are to dumb to fgind this kind of functionality so you have to have Jobs show you to the water. Cattle!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Dave, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:02am

    It wasn't the claim, it was the demo

    The ad itself and the words they use weren't the problem. The problem was the fact it showed the phone doing a number of different tasks in :28 when it wasn't actually possible.

    The showing of an impossible scenario is what the Advertising Standards Council said was misrepresentative.


    PCPro duplicated the tasks using an iPhone connected to Wifi and it took almost three minutes to actually do the tasks shown. Here's the video of the recreation.
    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/239556/what-the-banned-iphone-advert-should-really-look-lik e.html

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:06am

    Apple torches

    This ad smack down seems a bit odd. We let a lot of misleading ads get through in the US... maybe overseas they are a bit more strict on these things?

    But Apple always tout how they are super mega ultra best and how their products are top notch and flawlesss... really just their brand name not living up to the brand and hype. They are unfairly scrutinized and I take stones thrown at apple with a grain of salt but they sort of brought it on themselves. Everyone expects Microsoft to screw up... but Apple claims they never do.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:09am

    Simpsons

    I enjoyed watching the Simpsons mock apple last night. Didn't like the islamic propaganda, but the apple mocking was funny.

     

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  15.  
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    You, Me and the Bourgeois, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:48am

    UK Safety Police: Keep away from the iphone! They're lying to you!

    Only 17 complaints? I wonder if this complaint may have come from a competing network who doesn't have the phone on their network.

    Is it a case of "If you can't compete, silence them"?

    iPhone has 80% of the high-end smartphone market, and has around 95% satisfaction and 80% of owners will recommend it to others. Those numbers are nothing short of incredible. From a organic, word-of-mouth advertising perspective, it's virtually impossible to compete with those numbers.

     

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  16.  
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    tubes, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 7:04am

    Re: Apple torches

    That's exactly what I was thinking. Almost every commercial on US TV is misleading & wrong. At least overseas there is a little bit of oversight on the "tele". We are supposed to have truth in advertising but that is not the case. If there is truth they put it on the bottom of the screen where it is shown for a second & in a very small font that no one can read or it is read very quickly similar to the pharmaceutical ads.

     

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  17.  
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    Dave, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Re: UK Safety Police: Keep away from the iphone! They're lying to you!

    If there is one complaint and its found to be justified, they investigate.

    And FUD about other networks isn't helping, fanbot.

     

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  18.  
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    Ally Shannon, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Why so heated?

    Why is everyone getting so wound up about the iphone and how it is advertised? So what if they demonstrate the functionality and 'omit' the downtime to illustrate the end product? Everyday in life we, the general public, are subjected to unrealistic advertising on TV...singing cows, cars travelling 200 miles in the time it takes to run an average ad etc. Do we get over-heated about them? In our home, myself, partner and our 2 sons all have the iphone 3G and cannot believe how good it actually is. The harshest critics of new technology are teenagers and early 20 somethings - our sons fall into these categories, one of whom is an IT wiz, and everyday they find something new to do with the iphone. Lighten up people...its a new generation of mobile comms; embrace it as such.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Sean, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    The complaints are about the fact the product doesn't work like it does in the ad - are you just trying to be obtuse?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Sean, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:46am

    I find my phone to be about as fast as it is in the commercial when I'm on Wi-Fi, meaning that they aren't really misrepresenting the phone's speeds, but they are misrepresenting the network's speeds. I don't believe they say anywhere in the ad they are on the 3G network, they just imply the phone transmits and receives data over the 3G network.

    But advertising has always been this way, the product is rarely as good as the ad says it is. Will the UK begin to attack McDonalds because their burgers never look as good at the restaurant as they do in the ads?

     

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  21.  
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    Sean, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:46am

    I find my phone to be about as fast as it is in the commercial when I'm on Wi-Fi, meaning that they aren't really misrepresenting the phone's speeds, but they are misrepresenting the network's speeds. I don't believe they say anywhere in the ad they are on the 3G network, they just imply the phone transmits and receives data over the 3G network.

    But advertising has always been this way, the product is rarely as good as the ad says it is. Will the UK begin to attack McDonalds because their burgers never look as good at the restaurant as they do in the ads?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:50am

    In other news...

    ...other products from the US "May" cause an erection lasting 4 hours.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Phil McCraken, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Re: IPhone commercials

    what the hell did you just say? Man you nede to lern teh inglish langage.

     

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  24.  
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    Phillip Vector, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: How is a relativistic claim a problem?

    You know, your the reason why we have to listen to 15 seconds of a 30 second commercial of speed reading legalese to make sure their butt is covered.

    I hate those speed readers.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Phillip Vector, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Re: Why so heated?

    I just saw an ad my son is watching for the wonder pets show.

    I DEMAND my pet baby duck says, "This is serious" at least once every half hour.

    DAMM YOU FALSE ADVERTISERS FOR NOT MAKING MY DUCKS TALK ENGLISH!!!

    See how silly that is? I agree. People need to lighten up.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: UK Safety Police: Keep away from the iphone! They're lying to you!

    Define "high-end smartphone market"?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    TDR, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Just an interesting little factoid I thought I'd throw out. Did you know that the average person is exposed to over 12,000 pieces of advertising per day? In one form or another, direct or indirect, large or small.

    Maybe we should cut back a little on the marketing, eh? ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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