Apple forced to drop deceptive television ad in UK

Apple forced to drop deceptive television ad in UK

Summary: Remember the kerfuffle over Apple's "3G" television ad for the iPhone? In it the company demonstrates the speed of the iPhone on AT&T's 3G network.


Remember the kerfuffle over Apple's "3G" television ad for the iPhone? In it the company demonstrates the speed of the iPhone on AT&T's 3G network. As it turns out the ad was edited to exaggerate the speed of the iPhone 3G and the speed shown is impossible to replicate in the real world.

The television commercial was cleverly debunked in this YouTube video and Apple eventually added a tiny on-screen disclaimer that says "network performance will vary by location."

Today the commercial was banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which received 17 complaints that the ad was misleading for "exaggerating the speed of the iPhone 3G."

Topics: Wi-Fi, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Networking

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion

    I love that video... I wonder how fast the iPhone could be on Verizon? AT&T is known to all of us in the real world as the absolutely worst carrier in the U.S. Slow.. and Stopped are the 2 speeds for AT&T. I can always tell when someone calls me from an AT&T line..lots of cutting out, dropped calls etc.. in the middle of a metro area!
  • Good.

    Some corporations need a thorough cleaning to get rid of nonsense such as this.
  • Wha!?!?!

    Apple making deceiving ads??!?!

    Say it ain't so Joe!
  • I wish people cared about...

    I wish people cared about truth in advertising in the US. Apple's adds have long since left reality behind, and they keep on taking more and more liberties. But I guess if that is the only way to make more sales then I can understand why a company like Apple that has always relied on misinformation would do it if they can get away with saying whatever they want.

    At least it is good to see that in other parts of the world that deception won't fly. Just shows how gullible people in the US are.
    • Maybe people in the US

      are smart enough to realize that advertisements exaggerate and therefore take them with a grain of salt and live their lives rather than whine and complain about it to some government nannystate.

      Then again, we did just elect Obama... so maybe your wishes will come true and Americans will soon become just as whiny and annoying as Europeans.
      • Almost right, see Americans are so used to dishonesty...

        ..that they have become numb to it. However, when they finally saw a semi-honest presidential candidate they were so stunned and amazed that they had elect him in a sweeping victory.

        The Brits on the other hand demand honesty which is why they complained about Apple. This is also why they wanted Obama to win the US presidency like <a href="" title="can't find the other links but this will do">most of the rest of the world.</a>

        So as you can clearly see, you almost got it right you just had a few things off. But its ok, I'm sure you'll do better next time.
        • OMG!

          A liberal techie. Turn in your badge - only thinking people should be techs. Clearly you're not!
          • Liberal Techies are quite common...

            ...out in the big room. We like to think outside the datacenter.

            Obama is the thinking techie's candidate, it's good to see thought-mongering win over fear-mongering.
  • RE: Apple forced to drop deceptive television ad in UK

    The real story is how our superior CDMA is illegal in Europe, while the painfully slow GSM data network is allowed in the US. All because the French didn't want an American Military GPS based system being used on their territory, in case they had to attack us some day. Doesn't seem fair to me, how about you?
    • Eh?

      GPS and GSM are totally different technology.
      What are you going on about?

      GPS uses geo-stationary satalites, whilst GSM and CDMA uses cell based microwave transmission on the ground.

      I think your tin foil hat is crushing your brain.
      • Not only that, but...

        UMTS and HSDPA (both common in Europe) are W-CDMA based.
      • Double "eh"

        GPS satellistes are [b]not[/b] geostationary.
        Fred Fredrickson
  • Apple needs false advertising to sell their inferior products

    Apple dropped the Computer from their name under the pretenses that they were becoming an electronics company. The truth is that they dropped Computer from their name because they've become a marketing company. Apple can sell inferior products better than anyone else. However, that sometimes relies on skating very close to the "deceptive ad" line and this time, they were caught crossing it. The question is, are they actually going to get punished for lying to consumers or are they simply going to get yet another slap on the wrist?
    • Right

      Because we all know that you can never return a crappy product to the store for a refund; that when you buy it you are stuck with it forever.

      You are living proof that just because you were born with a brain does not mean you have been trained in its use.
    • I don't know why Americans are so amazed with the iPhone...

      It has really flopped in Japan because Japanese users already have access to some of the most advanced mobile-phone technologies in the world. Models currently sold by Japanese cellphone makers typically contain a high-end color display, digital TV-viewing capability, satellite navigation service, music player and digital camera. Many models also include chips that let owners use their phones as debit cards or train passes. 3G has been offered in Japan since 2001.
  • Assumption stated as fact

    The 3G speeds demonstrated in the ad are possible, though probably not common.

    And, this, folks is why you get stupid warning labels. Because some lawyer and some journalist with an agenda paints people as too stupid to realize that the real world and the ideal environment of a commercial may not exactly line up.
    • Yours is the assumption... the UK, advertisments have to be based in truth. Apple's advert was BS. There is no need to assume that the complaints come from HTC or anyone else.

      Also, your assumption that the ASA is a government "nannystate" institution is also incorrect. The ASA is an independent body set up by the advertising industry itself. It has nothing to do with the government at all.

      If you want to understand why BS is not allowed in UK advertising, try reading SECTION 5: MISLEADING ADVERTISING. You may wish to pay particular attention to the definition in 5.1

      [i]"(2) Advertising is likely to be considered misleading if, for example, it contains a false statement, description, illustration or claim about a material fact or characteristic. Material characteristics include price, availability and performance. Any ambiguity which might give a misleading impression must be avoided." [/i]

      [i]"(3) Even if everything stated is literally true, an advertisement may still mislead if it conceals significant facts or creates a false impression of relevant aspects of the product or service."[/i]

      Taken from

      Now Apple apologist, take your FUD and BS somewhere else.
      • Well said...

        ...the ASA provide a valuable service and don't allow outright lies to be used. Apologists who don't realise this have no place commenting on their charter.
        Sleeper Service
    • Are you sure?

      THere is one website doing a side by side "real world" run of the advert and they are using WiFi. The advert took 29 seconds and the "real world" wifi test took 2 mins 21 secs to replicate the same demo
  • How much you want to bet

    the 17 people who complained all work for HTC