Would this iPhone ad make you complain to your government?

I can't decide who is goofiest: the 17 people who complained about Apple's iPhone 3G ad claiming that the phone was "really fast" or the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for listening to them and banning Apple's ad. Unfortunately I haven't seen the ad in question, but if the ASA's previous pedantry is any indication, it's probably being persnickety — especially when Apple has clearly amended its claims from the American ads, which claimed the 3G data speeds to be "twice as fast."

While the above ad is for Australia's Telus Optus, I wouldn't be surprised if it's basically the same ad in the UK. It does present a best case for each of those actions, but it also doesn't claim to be doing it all over 3G, either.

Apple made to drop iPhone advert [BBC] (Thanks, Zoe!)

Join the Conversation


  1. I think you mean Australia’s Optus (or rather, Singapore’s, but foreign ownership is another story…).

  2. This is the advert, except the British one has a British voice-over and a small ‘steps removed and stages sped-up’ disclaimer at the bottom of the advert. Pretty identical otherwise.

  3. I complained because of the intolerable air of smugness permeating the entire ad. Apparently that’s not sufficient grounds for banning it. Shame.

  4. #3 yes – in the UK we have, as a people, appropriate forums to take issues to. Appropriate in that they will respond, taking action using legal powers they have, if they agree.

    So the ASA – well, they just make sure that advertisers match their claims with their product. And make them back down or pull out if people are unhappy.

    So while US citizens have been overwhelmed by decades of dodgy advertising, leading people to truly believe that a la-z-boy (whatever) will lead on to the American equivalent of 100 virgins, we here in the UK demand that people be accountable for what they say, and we whip and punish them for discrepancy. Churlish? Annoying? Well, don’t try and fake us out. We like to get what we believe we’re paying for.

    Besides, whipping people is fun. Punishing people is good. Nourishes the soul.

    I note that the UK advertising industry is regularly cited as the best in the world. Some correlations in there, I imagine.

    I was rather surprised to see this article.

  5. I’m ambivalent about this: I like the fact that misleading adverts are generally stamped out in the UK, but surely banning this one should’ve been a lower priority than arranging Witch-Doctor Gillian McKeith’s public flogging?

    My eventual dictatorship will be entirely benevolent, unless you’re a purveyor of psuedoscience or quackery: those people will have their legs chopped off with a rusty blade and encouraged to heal themselves with “pentapeptides”, lavender oil and chanting. Bastards.

    (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually looked the “pentapeptides” claim up; it just sounds like bollocks, is all)

  6. I’ll never understand fanboys. They whine about complainers, even while admitting that the complainers are right.

  7. The actual text of the judgement is more measured: the bbc hypes the “really fast” thing when it’s really about the visual depiction of the iPhone’s performance:

    “we considered that the visuals, in conjunction with the repeated use of the claim “really fast”, were likely to lead viewers to believe that the device actually operated at or near to the speeds shown in the ad. Because we understood that it did not, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead. ”

  8. Because apple lie persistently about their products. I’m sure if you’re a fanboy it doesn’t really matter but to people to use reason facts are important so you can make an informed decision.

  9. The ASA is NOT part of the government, it is the industry’s self-regulation scheme. It is paid for entirely by the advertising industry.

    From http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/about/

    “The Advertising Standards Authority is the independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in the advertising codes.”

  10. I wish my 3G iphone ran that fast. I think the regulator did the right thing. The ad is clearly misleading. it DOESNT work anywhere near that fast.

    So they lied. We got taught in kindergarten not to do that. “Apple – go stand in the corner”.

  11. In the Netherlands, we used to have an ad for a cleaning product. You’d see a woman with a sponge apply the product, and instead of scrubbing it would emit a blueish glow and presto: the surface was clean.
    This is so clearly not what the product does, that it’s allowed. I wonder if that’s the same for this ad. They need to show a lot of features in 30 seconds. So what if they speed it up? If you do a little bit of research or visit a store before your purchase, you’d know that the iphone is not that fast. There’s also not a competing product that can match the advertised speed, not even a full computer would be that fast without some serious OS/app changes.
    Are they protecting the stupid people, the ones that base their purchase on a 30 second ad?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *