Apple iPhone ad banned for misleading claims

27 Aug 2008

It can never be said that Apple produce anything but winning, on-trend ads — who doesn’t love the ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ series? But what about ads that mislead the general public? Well Apple has been told to stop playing these ads on TV and the web because of false claims with regard to the abilities of its Safari web browser.

The advertisement in question runs as follows: “You never know which part of the internet you’ll need. The ‘do you need sun cream part’? The ‘what’s the quickest way to the airport part’? The ‘what about an ocean view room part’? Or the ‘can you really afford this part’? Which is why, all parts of the internet are on the iPhone”.

One of the first problems encountered by new iPhone users was that they did know what part of the internet they needed: Flash and considering the iPhone does not support any Flash-based sites or Flash animations or functionality, then it seems obvious that all parts of the internet are indeed not on the iPhone.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK acknowledged that Apple’s advertising claim was in relation to the fact that the iPhone’s Safari browser displays web pages in full as opposed to the WAP browsers found on most mobile phones, but following complaints from members of the public that it still made claims that were not technically true the ASA ruled that the ads no longer be played.

The ASA said that Apple’s defence was that “the Safari web browser on the iPhone was built to open internet standards, the same as Safari on a home or office computer, and supported open-standard languages such as CSS, JavaScript and Ajax”.

“They said proprietary languages or technologies, such as Flash or Java, were not open source and required a plug-in or individual download in order for content to appear within the specific browser, regardless of whether the access to a site was made from an iPhone or home computer,” explained The ASA.

The ad was found to have breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 5.2.2 (Implications).

By Marie Boran