iPhone 3G advert 'likely to mislead'

iPhone - "Network performance will vary by location"
"Network performance will vary by location"

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints over an Apple iPhone 3G advert which talked of 'really fast' data retrieval.

The advert pushed the 3G network capability of the latest iPhone with visuals of the phone's speed in things like accessing the internet or downloading emails.

The advert contained the lines: "So what's so great about 3G? It's what helps you get the news, really fast. Find your way, really fast. And download pretty much anything, really fast. The new iPhone 3G. The internet, you guessed it, really fast."

Despite a line stating: "Network performance will vary by location" the ASA received complaints from 17 people.

Comparatively better

Apple UK responded by telling the ASA that the advert was intended to compare the new 3G model with its predecessor, and the claims were "relative rather than absolute in nature".

The company also suggested that the average viewer would have been aware that the advert would be simplified and illustrative rather than an accurate portrayal and that the on-screen text warning underlined this.

"Although we acknowledged that the majority of viewers would be familiar with mobile telephones, we considered that many might not be fully aware of the technical differences between the different types of technology," the ASA assessed.

"We also noted the ad did not give an explicit indication of a comparison with the older 2G iPhone.

"We noted the voice-over claim 'really fast' was used in conjunction with each of the functions shown in the visuals. Although we noted the on-screen text disclaimer, "network performance will vary by location", 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."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.