Apple’s compelling advertisements are at the heart of their business. Besides cutting edge technology, sleek designs and reliable products, Apple are well known for their ads. Apple take their advertisements so seriously that in 1984 Ridley Scott was hired to direct one that was only aired once in its lifespan during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. So it may strike you as surprising when it was announced earlier today that a recent Apple advertisement was pulled from UK television screens.
The controversy surrounding this ad concerns the iPhone 3G and Apple’s claims about its speed and performance capabilities. Apple claims the 3G is ‘really fast’, followed by a brief step by step look at an different app speeds. 17 people filed a complaint to British watchdog service the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), saying the advertisement has ‘mislead’ them. Apple then later released a statement claiming that the speeds were “relative rather than absolute in nature”, implying that this is a reference to the previous 2G model of the phone. Despite Apple’s on-screen disclaimers stating that “network performance will vary by location”, the ASA deemed is conclusively misleading and ruled that it be banned from airing again. Apple also added that the customer would experience network speeds that could vary, thus why they inserted the disclaimer.
This is not the first time Apple has been in trouble over false statements. In August 2008, another similar advertisementl was banned as it was stated that “all the parts of the internet are shown”. Several customers complained that this was false as Java and Flash aren’t viewable. Although the current 3G adv has been removed solely in the UK, an additional inquiry has also been filed in the US.