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What The Banned iPhone Ad Should Really Look Like 463

Posted by samzenpus
from the truth-in-advertising dept.
Barence writes "To demonstrate just how misleading the latest (and now banned) iPhone television ad really is, PC Pro has recreated it using an iPhone 3G and a Wi-Fi connection — with laughable results. Apple was forced to pull the advert today after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided it exaggerated the speed of mobile browsing. 'In the 30-second clip the iPhone is shown loading a webpage, finding its current location in Google Maps, opening a PDF from an email and finally taking a phone call. The ASA concluded that the iPhone cannot do what was shown in the mere 29 seconds afforded in the advert, ruling that it was misleading.' Try it for yourself and you'll undoubtedly agree."
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What The Banned iPhone Ad Should Really Look Like

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  • by brejc8 (223089) * on Thursday November 27, 2008 @10:50AM (#25909027) Homepage Journal

    Apple should really be slapped for repeatedly misrepresenting [brej.org] their products. I will buy a beer to anyone who can find a single photo of any of their products on the store website. Every single one has been hand generated usually with incorrect proportions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2008 @10:59AM (#25909125)

    Err, what? Your link is to your own blog, where you have a post containing nothing but the same unsubstantiated claim you made in this post, followed by a picture of an iPhone that you have mislabeled as a picture of an iPod Touch.

  • by MrMickS (568778) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @11:00AM (#25909131) Homepage Journal

    In the UK Vodafone are running an advert for the touch screen Blackberry Storm. They show the guy using it to fix a broken neon light he can see on a building opposite. Does this mean that it can do that? Wow!

    Seriously the ASA needs to get a grip. The Apple advert was showing the things that could be done with an iPhone 3G. All of the things are possible, perhaps not within the time, but possible. The Blackberry Storm thing isn't possible. Which is banned?

  • by dave420 (699308) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @11:14AM (#25909249)
    The guy spent over a minute and a half fumbling around on keys? I don't think so. If I were a betting man I'd put a few cents on you owning an iPhone. I'd also put a few more cents on you posting the above message to rationalise your purchase to yourself. But then I'm cynical like that.
  • In the UK (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Colourspace (563895) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @11:15AM (#25909271)
    Thats weird, because I saw the UK advert last night and it states quite clearly at the bottom of the screen that operations have been sped up etc, and does not appear to make any claims to the advert being true to life.... Is this the British ASA or is there an ASA elsewhere in the world (i.e. the USA)?
  • by yog (19073) * on Thursday November 27, 2008 @11:15AM (#25909273) Homepage Journal

    Most people would view this commercial and think, wow, you can do all that with a phone? I want one!

    By the time they have bought it and figured out how to run it, they'll long since have forgotten how speedy it looked in the advert.

    Ads aren't supposed to be starkly realistic. Just think how awful they'd all be if they were.

    For example, most car companies don't show you the sad realities of operating their vehicles in traffic. I think a realistic portrayal should include an occasional collision ("note how our driver is relatively unhurt, versus the critically injured passengers in the competition's car!").

    GM would be more honest if they illustrated "fit and finish" problems in their vehicles. For example, driver gets in new Chevrolet Malibu, turns it on. Engine dies. Cut to scene at dealer's--"We back up our cars, sir; we'll have you out of here within two hours, and at no charge!"

    Similarly, show a grandmother trying to turn on her new HP laptop and this "CHECKSUM FAILURE, PRESS F1 TO CONTINUE" screen appears. She calls HP and a nice man with a south Asian accent talks her through the problem (which involves reseating a SIMM).

    In general, you almost NEVER encounter the kind of courteous, perfect service and incredible product quality as illustrated in ads. Ads don't reflect reality; they're a kind of allegorical story designed to make you want to buy the product while lying as much as they can get away with.

    I think overall that they were just picking on Apple and the ad should have run.

  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @11:26AM (#25909351) Homepage Journal

    This ruling was made in the UK. We have slightly different advertising standards to the US. In the UK, the sort of thing you're suggesting is not allowed:

    I will give you all 1 million dollars* for reading this post!
    .

    .

    *1 million imaginary dollars

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2008 @12:13PM (#25909743)

    Also notice during the PDF sequence how the iPhone was failing to respond to input. That certainly wouldn't make a good ad.

  • by SudoScience (1314289) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @12:19PM (#25909787) Homepage

    You're right that they should be honest, but no ads are. Yet most of the arguments against the ad being banned are that everyone is doing the same thing. Well maybe I'm an idiot but doesn't that then make the point that we ought to enforce such a standard on all ads then? If they're all lying then they all should be punished, rather than allowing everyone to lie as much as they want.

    The "they're doing it too" excuse is just weak overall. Maybe you could argue that the standards are applied unevenly, but still that's only a good argument for applying the standard evenly rather than dropping all standards whatsoever.

  • by Truekaiser (724672) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @12:40PM (#25909923)

    The problem is not that apple was lieing about the performance of the iphone, it's that the ad doesn't have the legal loophole words. 'performance may vary', 'closed course, professional driver', etc either printed or spoken.

  • by FLEB (312391) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @12:58PM (#25910037) Homepage Journal

    I think it's an evolutionary result, though. Industrial manufacturing introduced a glut of consumer goods to the world, and made it possible that multiple players could be in the same market trying to sell essentially the same thing, or at least the same thing with normally imperceptible differences. One company who advertises could take a market-share far disproportionate to the comparative advantage they have against a company with a similar product, but no advertising. Increased publicity ability gave the means, and anyone outside the competition really just can't compete.

  • by myvirtualid (851756) <pwwnow@ g m a il.com> on Thursday November 27, 2008 @01:02PM (#25910053) Journal

    So I can rotate those dollars 90 degrees and they are real dollars?

    Whoa, slow down there, bucko - I think you might confusing rotation with projection.

    Project those imaginary dollars onto the real axis and you'll get exactly what this post is worth!

    Homework assignment: Using this reasoning, show the recent financial troubles could have been predicted using simple vector analysis. Bonus points from computing the cross-product of Al Greenspan and Warren Buffet.

  • Re:Beauty treatments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jesus_666 (702802) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @01:29PM (#25910215)
    You appear to have different scent ads than Germany does. In Germany, scent ads are usually exercises in dadaism, completely devoid of any discernible content. The palette goes from women randomly gyrating with trippy special effects overlaid to a man rambling about adventure before driving off on a moped to weird disjointed nonsense that ends with a man walking away from a cyan-tinted Union Jack. In fact, most of them are simply disjointed nonsense.

    The easiest way to spot a scent ad is to look if it appears to be completely nonsensical. The less sense it makes, the more likely it's a scent ad.

    Makes me wonder who they're targeting with those ads. People who buy stuff simply because some yellow-hued women stumble around on TV while "Heart of Glass" is playing? How the hell does that work?
  • by ErnstKompressor (193799) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @01:33PM (#25910247) Homepage

    ...Dishonest, or just incompetent. The same goes for the UK Ad council responsible for demanding the ad be pulled. I couldn't help but make a video this morning to see what the results should really look like...

    Try 48 secs and that is with me flubbing a bit, waiting for GPS to lock and timing a call to myself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwbZkkJhfcA [youtube.com]

    I don't even like my iPhone that much, but there are better reasons to dislike it than simply fabricated, untruthful criticisms.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @01:50PM (#25910349)

    They only have a 30 second spot to show off all the phone's most important features.

    It makes no sense to show a "loading" screen for 15 seconds of an Ad, doing that doesn't present its selling point (the features).

    If skipping the boring parts/not showing annoying parts in an ad is misrepresentation, then there are a lot of companies guilty of this.

    If you want to know how well a product really performs in actual use, you don't use the advertising -- you either get a 30 day trial on the product or you find independent third-party reviews.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @02:55PM (#25910705)
    I just recently got to try out a Mac. It has been over a decade since the last time I used one. What shocked me most was just how crappy and unintuitive their UI was. Since UI is basically what Macs have used as their primary selling point since the beginning, I had just taken peoples word for it that it didn't suck. Hands down, it is the least intuitive UI have have ever used short of a command line.
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @03:24PM (#25910855)

    The phrase "self-centered prick" comes to mind.

          Nah, it's just that the negligible cost associated with producing each additional stream of packets of information really turns the internet into a socialized information utopia. See, I pay for my internet connection. You pay for yours. That should be it.

          But the telcos are the ones really cashing in, as they have been ever since the first telegraph line. They have the capacity. The fiber is laid, and our monthly fees more than cover the depreciation and maintenance. They just don't want to give full access to you because they're a monopoly and they CAN charge whatever they want and make you think bandwidth is a scarce resource. After all they need to buy all those politicians to get their hands on every single communications medium out there, and to outlaw ones they couldn't possibly monopolize.

          So they gouge you by charging an arm and a leg for those extra Mb/s, forcing you to look for revenue to cover this additional cost. But then you get greedy and say "well if I can cover my cost, I might as well make a profit too". Well you're welcome to try. I'm part of your cost of doing business, and I'm subsidized by the uninitiated. If you don't like it, block me. I'm sure there are others that provide the same service. Google is not that hard to use.

          Sorry to be so frank, but that's the way it is - for now. When someone comes up with an "internet" where you HAVE to watch the ads, expect usage to disappear or expect something new to happen. People don't LIKE watching ads. First there was over the air TV, where you had no choice but to watch what was broadcast. Then came cable, where you had more choice as to what types of programming you wanted. Now there's the internet. Why should I pay $50 a month for 170 channels I don't want, when I can just download the episodes of my favorite show and watch it when I want instead of when the network feels like broadcasting? People want what they want and ONLY that.

          Do you come to slashdot for the ads, or to engage in pseudo-intellectual arguments? Did you click on all the ads here?

  • by Tanktalus (794810) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @06:29PM (#25911847) Journal

    Please don't spread this around. I'm rather hoping that the advertising agencies take this as a "we're going to come down harder on misleading advertising" rebuke rather than a "you didn't use enough weasel words" rebuke. People like you might give them the wrong idea, no matter how true.

  • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Thursday November 27, 2008 @08:58PM (#25912563)

    Kind of related, about 10 years ago in Australia Telstra was heavily pushing satellite and radio based internet (no higher than 256kbps) to farmers. One of their ads showed the stereotypical farmer family giggling around the computer looking at a bunch of sheep drinking from a water trough somewhere on their farm in a web browser. High resolution, very high frame rate, dvd quality. On the quiet Telstra had their fingers burned big time for spewing such bullshit, a revised advert was shown with the same scene a few weeks later, but very pixelated and at about 1 frame per second.

    Nice to see consumer watchdogs orgs doing their bit, even better to see them getting it right in technology fields. I'd like to think that the iPhone crap wouldn't fly in Australia, but times have changed. I've since moved to Asia where there are absolutely no laws at all that cover truth in advertising. Your iPhone looks even more absurd here.

  • by LackThereof (916566) on Friday November 28, 2008 @04:41AM (#25914571)

    I don't think the burger comparison is even worth pursuing; that was a $5 burger at a fast food outlet, and theoretically an employee who took the time to make a good one could have given you a burger that looked like the advertised one.

    As a member of the exclusive club of former fast-food employees, I can tell you that it's not only theoretically possible, but occasionally required! Fast food places are regularly audited by their parent company - if you're working the kitchen when corporate comes to audit, you'll be expected to assemble a burger that looks exactly like the advertisement, down to the placement of the pickles and those neat overlapping onions, in under 15 seconds. If you screw it up, the auditor will ream you, and show you how to do it right.

    In Apple's case, no corporate auditor could have recreated that advertisement.

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