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Apple iPhone Ad Banned In UK Over Complaint

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One of Apple's iPhone advertisements has been banned in the UK following complaints that it misleads customers.

The contention is on the statement that says “all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone”.

The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints from two local reviewers who contended Apple’s claim in the commercial that the iPhone had all the parts of the internet in it. The complaint said that since the iPhone does not support Flash or Java it cannot claim to be offering a complete internet functionality.

Apple responded saying it was not claiming complete internet functionality but rather internet site availability. ASA however decided to ban the ad since it was misleading and did not explain the limitations.

What were they thinking? Scrutinizing each and every word in an advertisement and holding the advertiser responsible looks like an attempt at squelching the creative freedom of advertisements. Ads are marketing tools. They are supposed to generate interest. If someone wants to buy an item after seeing an ad its really up to that person to verify that the item fulfills all her/his needs. How can someone believe each and every word in an advertisement? This brings to mind a commercial for a motorcycle that had the punch line “Feel like God”. So do we ban that advertisement since nobody can determine how God feels?

Reported by Technology is Fascinating

Here is how Technolgoy Experts comments on the story.

The ASA received two (yes, only 2) complaints about the ad, which said the following:

"You never know which part of the Internet you'll need. The 'do you need sun cream' part? The 'what's the quickest way to the airport' part? The 'what about an ocean view room' part? Or the 'can you really afford this' part? Which is why all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone."

The complaints were definitely from techies and not regular consumers: the complaints were that the iPhone does not support Flash or Java, which appear on many websites, and therefore the claim that "all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone" was false.

The response from Apple was that the aim of the ad was to highlight the benefits of the iPhone in being able to offer availability to full internet websites, as opposed to other phones which "offered access to WAP versions or sites selected by service providers."

ASA's Decision (emphasis mine):

The ASA noted that Java and Flash proprietary software was not enabled on the iPhone and understood that users would therefore be unable to access certain features on some websites or websites that relied solely on Flash or Java. We noted Apples argument that the ad was about site availability rather than technical detail, but considered that the claims "You'll never know which part of the internet you'll need" and "all parts of the internet are on the iPhone" implied users would be able to access all websites and see them in their entirety. We considered that, because the ad had not explained the limitations, viewers were likely to expect to be able to see all the content on a website normally accessible through a PC rather than just having the ability to reach the website. We concluded that the ad gave a misleading impression of the internet capabilities of the iPhone.

Well, they are right, but it sure is picky. You can watch the video and judge for yourself.

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