Apple Ad Banned for Misleading Information

August 27th, 2008 at 12:00 am

iphone uk tv ad banned

An iPhone TV advertisement in the UK has been banned from airing by the UK’s advertising watchdog. The TV -ad apparently over hyped the capabilities of the iPhone.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) received complaints that the TV-ad was implying that the iPhone can view the internet as you would on a PC browser. However, if you’ve been hyped as well, this not entirely true. The iPhone cannot view Java or Flash, an integral part of many web pages. Apple confirms this by saying that Safari, the browser installed on the iPhone, was built to open internet standards and that Flash and Java were not open source. Hence, Apple cannot ensure compatibility with "every third-party technology in the marketplace".

In a last ditch effort, Apple says that the ad did not show any Flash or Java application and that by saying in the voice over, "all parts of the internet" only meant website availability "not every aspect of functionality".

The ASA upheld this assessment and took the Ad off the air:

"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."