back to article Apple forced to pull misleading UK iPhone ad

Apple's latest iPhone advert has been condemned by the ASA for giving the impression the phone could download and install applications quickly and easily, forcing the firm to pull the ad. The advert shows the usual downloading and installing of an application with amazing ease, and ends with the small print reading: "Steps …


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  1. Luke

    There are worse ad's than this

    Yeah, fair enough it is unrealistic, especially on O2’s patchy 3g. But over wifi, it is not far off this.

    While virgin are still implying they run fibre to people’s homes, is this really the most misleading advert?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    When has ANYTHING in an advert looked exactly like it does in the ads?

    My hair looks nothing like the models in the Garnier or Pantene adverts (and the small print says the hair was enhanced with extensions).

    Never has any McDonalds burger I've bought looked so nice, juicy or big as they show in ads. They're usually limp, flat and lacking filling.

    What about all the ads that say "30% more... whatever" but then fail to say 30% more than what.

    Those fast-spray fence painting systems fail to show how long you spend unclogging the nozzles every 10 minutes, which ends up making it quicker to use a paintbrush.

    Do people complain that the Citroen car they bought doesn't have the ability to transform into a robot and dance, ice skate, or 'grind' along road railings? I don't see a disclaimer on those ads.

    If this iPhone ad was misleading, how come it was approved in the first place? All ads need to be approved before they can be shown anyway. Why wasn't it noticed before airing?

  3. Gary Owen
    Thumb Down


    Being able to tell a company they can never show their advert on UK TV again after probably spending thousands in its production is hardly toothless!

    Can't you just tell the author is a die-hard mactardian jobfelcher?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Hywel Thomas

    Inconsistent ?

    I thought misleading advertising that had small print was perfectly acceptable. Car ads do this all the time. £5999 in big print, model shows £12999 in small print etc.

    It was certainly acceptable for Intel to advertise some fella using a laptop via wi-fi half way up a fucking mountain a few years back. The ASA said so. I know, cos I complained to them that it was misleading bollocks.

    I don't particularly object to this decision. Just the inconsistency.

  6. OrsonX

    Age re-defying plumping hypercollagenboosting lypazomes


    I really liked this ad.

    I thought it was impressive that a company was selling a product by actually showing the device working in the advert, and that alone was used to sell the product! I can think of very few other adverts that have ever come close to this premis? Perhaps Mr. Remington buying the company?

    The advert even had a clearly viewable "steps shortened" almost unnecessary disclaimer. But even w/o the disclaimer why should it be pulled? Consider for example almost ANY cosmetics advert on TV which claim to perform miracles... with the usual disclaimer "tested on idiots" briefly flashed at the end.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    It's a scam

    I read about this in the paper this morning, that Apple claimed viewers would understand it was a shortened presentation and didn't reflect reality.

    Sorry, what? Advertisers are constantly trying to get us to see reality their way, to convince us of their version of the truth. To now say "It's come full circle and we feel we can lie because consumers are hardened cynics anyway" is unacceptable.

    Do I know not to trust everything said in ads? Sure I do. Does that mean that companies should be able to just lie?

  8. Thomas

    The print wasn't that small...

    ... and what steps were missing? Obviously it was unduly speedy, but I didn't notice anything omitted. Anyone know what they're referring to?

  9. Electro Boy


    There's an opinion piece in the Guardian today where the author owns up to making the complaint as an act of revenge....

  10. andy gibson

    "Steps removed / sequence shorted" disclaimer

    This has only been recently added. The first release of the advert didn't have them.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Entering your password is ommitted isn't it? I have to do that everytime i install something - to be fair tho, the iphone installation process is very simple.

  12. jai

    what are the missing steps?

    this advert aired during the Gadget Show on monday, and as far as i can tell, the steps that were removed were possibly typing in your Apple Store password, and then going through the loading screens and starting a race, and even the very start of the race of Cro Magnon Rally

  13. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Maybe we could just ban all adverts

    The newly unemployed advertising execs could then be gainfully employed as firewood. Win/win.

  14. Galaxy Bob

    re:missing steps.

    They omit the part where you log on to the itunes store.

  15. Andy P

    Firing squad?

    Just because other companies get away with spinning bs in ads doesn't mean Apple should.

    I know we are mostly pretty sophisticated and savvy about interpreting advertising these days but that doesn't mean they should get away with an ad this misleading.

    But main reason I hit the comments page is that the author claims that that the regulator is toothless immediately after stating the regulator forced them to pull the ad. Was the author expecting a firing squad? Or does he have an axe to grind?

  16. Anonymous Coward


    If VM's claim bothers you that much The ASA website is here...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many Apple apologists

    You know you would all be chomping at the bit to let fly at MS if they had done something similar in an advert.

    They are completely in the wrong. As pointed out above, originally the ad did not have the disclaimer and it is very much designed and filmed to give the impression that is all you have to do and that is how quick it is and the filming was done in one shot.

  18. Edwin
    Thumb Down

    toothless? hardly

    While the ASA may not be able to enforce anything, the risk to the advertising industry is that if they don't self-regulate, then the gov't will do it for them.

    So by and large the advertising agencies will comply - they don't really have a choice.

  19. Jeff
    Thumb Down

    What a shame...

    ...that a system most likely setup to protect consumers against advertising by fly-by-night companies, fortune tellers, penis-pill purveyors and the like is used mainly to harangue legitimate companies over the most inconsequential details imaginable.

    Would that missing step have led purchasers to angrily demand their money back? I doubt it.

  20. Monkey

    I think it should have been banned for the fact that...

    Jobs claimed when they launched the original 2G iphone, his answer to the critics were "3G is totally unnecessary". Or it should at least have come with a hypocrisy warning at the start!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Not So Simple as Suggested Then.

    Here in Canada I noticed that about 1 week ago the words "Sequence Shortened" were added, briefly shown at the start of the iPhone commercial. This is a fraud since the style certainly implies that it's a 1-shot take.

    Next time it will be Thomas Cook commercial showing a taxi pulling up at your house followed by the same model of car dropping you at your Mexican hotel with the words "Sequence Shortened" added.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I think the hypocrisy warning should be assumed whenever you see an Apple ad.

    Truthful advertising from Apple wouldn't sell anything, let alone the Jeebus Phone, after all who wants to look like an estate agent in these financially challenged times and since when has it been desirable to look like a gormless twat who has problems with more than one mouse button (yeah, I know, they have more than one button now, yet more hypocrisy)?

    Paris, at least she knows when she's getting screwed. Time after time.

  23. Tim Cook


    People are mixing up the current Appstore "this changes everything" ad with the 3G internet touting "really fast" ad which aired a couple of months ago. The latter has been banned, the former is still running.

    Yes the visuals on the "really fast" ad were slightly accelerated, but not by much. The iPhone *is* a very snappy device, noticeably more so than many competing phones, and the 3G version *is* much faster than the original (when you're in coverage). I think the thrust of the ad was fair, it's a "really fast" phone, but they overpolished the pictures and that's done for them.

  24. Luke


    (Mr Branson, is that you?) I never said I was losing sleep over it... The point I was making is that most adverts bend the truth, Virgin, Apple or Penelopé Cruz and her fake eyelashes - Picking on just this one is just inconsistent. Either stop all the lies or let them go wild - sensible people will do their own research anyway.

  25. Dick Emery
    Thumb Up

    As a Simpson character says...


    The less crApple I see the better.

    Thumbs up, because everyone is thumbs down.

  26. Graham Marsden

    First against the wall...

    ... when the Revolution comes!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    It's a shame yesterday's episode of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe was all about advertising. If this ad had been pulled a week earlier it might have made it into the show!

  28. John Bailey
    Jobs Horns


    Perhaps you should take a quick look at the front page of the reg.. Two ASA stories in one day is pretty much proof that they don't have a vendetta on the Jesusphone.

    If you don't like the accuracy of the adverts, feel free to complain to the ASA. URL elsewhere in comments. Or are you just sulking because Apple got a slapped wrist again?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Not just the iPhone though is it

    Just how much truth is in Apple's adverts, across the board? Very little.

    The Macbook Air ads are just 30 Seconds of Lies, the iPhone ones are little better. The only ones that aren't here nor there are the iPod adverts, but that's just brand recognition more than anything else.

  30. Tony Paulazzo

    This title is anti apple

    I don't like Apple products or software, but this was stupid - every advert lies (sorry, bends the truth), whether it be whiter whites or a product that makes you irresistible to the opposite sex - I agree with what someone else said above, ban all adverts, it's the only way to be sure...

    I reckon it was iPhone early adopters pissed of with their new toy who complained because they didn't wait to read some unbiased reviews (assuming there were some).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @everyone saying there is a disclaimer

    I checked again last night as I had seen the disclaimer but not paid much attention. It is light grey on a white background. Many people wouldn't even see it it is on the screen for so little time and then quite rightly feel conned if they bought the product. Why can't the 'followers of Jobs'TM just accept it when their favourite company is caught out doing underhand things, or sell a badly constructed product, or try to hide security issues?

    Wake up people - Apple are just as bad as any other corporate machine if not worse.

  32. Luke
    Gates Halo

    @John Bailey

    Tempting though trolling around the comments, trying to wind up Apple fanboys must be, you have really missed your mark - I can't stand them.

    The point I made was that advertisements DO NOT concern me. What bothers me is the fact that 17 complaints (probably by people such as yourself, who fly into a solid nerd rage when certain tech companies get mentioned) resulted in an advertisement being pulled. It doesn't matter if there were 30 similar stories that day - it is still inconsistent.

    Let the market dictate what is acceptable, ban nothing - I am fine with offensive, crazy and misleading television and radio. I want deodorant companies telling people that dousing themselves in their will make bikini clad women flock to me. I want to see tampon advertisements promising women that their time of the month needn’t be an uncomfortable time, but rather a chance to go cycling and running along the beach. And dammit if I don’t want to be able to hear Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand leave sexually explicit messages on old mens answerphones. Why not? If I don't like it I turn it off.

    The world run by people with the ASA etc bookmarked is a depressing sounding place to me.

  33. Deep Tank
    Jobs Horns

    So... what else is new...?

    Apple have put out a bullsh1t ad. Not the first - nor the last time, I would guess.

    Gary Owen's "mactardian jobfelcher" had me in stiches though... Nice one! :-)

  34. ShaggyDoggy

    You can't

    You can't polish a turd

  35. Scott Mckenzie

    Company bend truth in Marketing..

    ...whatever next, Pope in Catholic shocker.

    FFS, this is stupid.... but hey, nowt we can do now.

  36. ShaggyDoggy


    Just saw this ad on VH1 at 19:40 on 28-11-08 complete with "sequence shortened" message.

    Not pulled then.

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