UK Government Pulls Another iPhone 3G Ad

We already told you about the UK banning Apple's "just the internet" ad, and why they were wrong. Well, the BBC is reporting yet another Apple iPhone 3G television ad has just been yanked off the UK airwaves by the British government's advertising standards watchdog group. Why? For exaggerating the iPhone 3G's speed.


blockquote>The advert boasted the new 3G model was "really fast" and showed it loading internet pages in under a second. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints by 17 people who said the TV advert had misled them as to its speed.

Seriously? I would love to meet the 17 people who complained that the speed of the iPhone 3G did not match the above commercial. [Ed- ladies and gentlemen, Paul Thurrott!] I understand that the phone is nowhere near being that fast but do they not realize that is a 30 second advertisement displaying the top features of the iPhone 3G. Maybe I am crazy but I like to think I have the common sense to know the difference between a 30 advertisement and reality.

Well if you are like me, you'd want to get some insight from at least one of the 17 people who complained, then let me introduce you to a man named Roger Browning. It seems he did not have anything better to do with his time but to get "revenge" for having his own iPhone 3G stolen. Yes, you heard me correctly, "revenge". Be sure to check out the link to read his story.

Sound off in the comments, we are curious to see what our readers have to say about this!

[Via BBC News]

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Reader comments

UK Government Pulls Another iPhone 3G Ad


I can't belive what a dick this guy is. When I bought my 3g I was told very clearly that I wouldn't get a replacement if it was stolen. I have been angry with some companies customer service, but never apple. Just be careful not to leave your phone sitting around.

Of course no one thought that the iphone was as lightning quick as the advert, but the Brits love a good green inked complaint. H'obviously complaining for petty revenge is the height of douchebaggery, but one must still admire the fact that it worked.

I agree the ad is misleading and should be yanked. It might have been OK if it was to present features of the iPhone. But, when the ad is focused on the speed with repeated "really fast" line, you shouldn't be allowed to display such false information about, um, speed.

Guys, guys, guys... think about this. It's a commercial for TV. Not a infomercial. It's no different then the Blackberry Bold commercial currently running in the US. There is a runner sprinting at superhuman speed along with shots of the Bold doing everything under the sun in 30 seconds or less. Should that be pulled as well? No chance. People need common sense.
@Daniel, I do understand where you are coming from but again, it's a tv ad and to me that's the bottom line.

Because I typed it on my iPhone in my car... wanted to put a more thought out answer together when I got to a computer. Sorry. :)

Also, it is different here in the US than it is in the UK. And I understand that as well. Just don't agree with it.

I know one of the 17 people and her complaint was about the "it just works" line. This was in the period when some people were having a lot of problems with iPhone software ( pre 2.1 update). The ASA turned it into the speed complaint. Given that there were also problems with 3G at this time, the complaints were legitimate.
Remember, it can take months to process a complaint.

The UK have very strict advertising laws on false advertising. They don't stand for stuff like we do in Australia or the USA - "oh, I didn't expect it to be as good as the ad".
The Optus 3G network (my provider) down under is slow, slow slow. What a joke. iPhone is great, but hampered by a shitty data connection.

I also agree iPhone is great and have no other phones I like to get over it right now. But, AT&T 3G blows. I have full bars in my area and it's most of time painfully slow. The burst speed is OK, but initial connection time, latency, and stability of staying in connection are problematic. EVDO in CDMA side is much much better and while it still may not be as fast as the ad, phones running on EVDO feel much snappier than iphones on AT&T 3G. Can't wait Sprint or Verizon (scratch that, Verizon will find a way to cripple iPhone and Jobs will never allow it) carry iPhone.

ASA isn't really the UK government, it's an independent advertising standards agency. Your headline makes it sound like the Labour Party has a grudge against Apple.
I love my iPhone and it is very fast, but I could tell it was a matter of time before that advert was pulled. The editing is just too much. Now my experience isn't that much slower, but as others said in the UK you can't get away with an advert like that. Unfortunately most of the speed problems are actually beyond Apple's control, it's up to the networks. Here in Ireland my iPhone flies in rural areas, but head for a large town in the evening and contention totally kills the speed.

@Daniel - when I lose my common sense... then talk to me. :) Until then I have enough to know what is real and what is a obvious attempt to display what a device is capable of overall. And know that it is sped up to fit it all in 30 seconds...
Like Steve said above, do you guys think that little Elves bake your Keebler cookies like they do in the commercials?

And a lot of you folk from the UK seem to harp on the network speed, maybe it's time you look at your carriers and not at Apple. Here in the States, and I am purely speaking for myself, the network speed is excellent where I am at. I've had my phone since July 11th and I can not complain one bit about the network.

Surely even if its a carrier issue, apple cannot mislead people saying how fast the internet is, when it clearly isn't. They after all chose to work with 02 in the UK and AT&T in the US.
Sorry, the Elves baking Keebler cookies comment means nothing to me here in the UK.

Does the commercial say the internet on the iPhone is beyond reality? Don't think so... is there text saying speed is dependent on network conditions? Yes. Again, I've said this a million times but common sense has to come into play on this.
Watch this Bold commercial we have here in the States. You surely don't think that this phone can make you run that fast do you? Or how about how fast he browses a web site, brings up a menu, switches to playing a video, downloads a streaming video, etc... just a commercial... nothing more, nothing less.

The iphone advert does say that speed may vary in different areas.....even so...the example they show is way way way too fast. Bet that even Steve Jobs' iphone doesn't work that fast.
I watched the bold commercial in your link above, and all i can say is this. They will not be showing that in the uk.

Hopefully you now see where I am coming from saying that is not a big deal to people in America. I'm not trying to argue with anyone, I just think that what I am used to and what people from the UK are used to are two completely different things. I'll leave it at that. ;)

I also live in the uk and whilst I believe the advert IS misleading, I didn't see it as that big a deal. Most adverts are misleading... There was an advert a couple months back advertising a skoda car... There were a load of bakers making a car out of cake and candies but that doesn't mean that I'll get a delicious edible car if I were to buy one

Advertising in the UK is completely, perceptually different anyway. I remember a few years back, one of the most acclaimed adds was:
"People don't buy insurance, they buy white sofas"
Which is brilliant and insightful, and completely opaque to almost every North American we showed it to.
That said, an iPhone 3G sitting atop an EU 3G tower might respond that fast, but who really cares? Does Tide whiting my whites as fast as they claim?
More and more we cater to the lower and less. We treat people like idiots and so they become more idiotic. We lower the bar until people can trip over it, then panic and remove the bar. We tell people things aren't their fault, it's Apple's, and so people never learn personal responsibility.
We create the society we tolerate.

If they recorded it in real time they would only be able to download one thing in the 30 second commercial

The first thing that I want to say is that this site is about the iPhone, as a result there is a good chance that most readers are iPhone fans. We are not the general public and have some knowledge of what to expect from a phone. However someone with no or little knowledge of cell or mobile phones ""could or would"" expect to get the speeds as shown in the advert. All Apple had to do was make it clear that the images where not shown in real time. Other mobile phone manufacturers when trying to show how good their product is for playing games or watching TV have had to state in the advert that a simulation has been used.
Second point the United States and the United Kingdom may use a similar language but they are not the same country and in some ways very different. Example - an advert for a cold and flu treatment in the UK would show the person with the cold feeling crap at the start of the ad. By the end of the advert after using the product they would be shown to feel better and might even be up to going for a walk with the dog. However they would not be 100% fit. The advert for the same product in the States would start the same but end with the person who was ill having a great time with his or her friends at a bowling alley and being 100% fit. In the UK we expect it to do what it says on the tin! A few months ago I saw an advert on US tv for a breakfast ready meal. This was an egg and bacon product that you heat in the microwave. The ad was saying that this is so much better than cereal. In the UK if they wanted to say that it was better than cereal they would have to prove that the nutritional content was better that the average cereal.
I am not saying that British people believe everything that they are told in an advert, just that we have laws to stop people being mis-sold a product.

Soooo... do they tell you James Bond isn't real in your movie trailers? Or Spiderman? After all, we wouldn't want you paying to see a movie that wasn't real. :roll:

Steve - A character in a movie is not the same as a product is it? I mean the product in a movie trailer is just the movie.

I wasn't talking about a character, but rather a "TRAILER" which IS indeed an "ADVERTISEMENT." But then, look who I'm replying to... a person who thinks the iPhone can be used as lie detector. Read more carefully next time before replying with foolishness. :lol:
Daniel: You're lack of comprehension doesn't make my point stupid, but it does make... well... I'll let you try to think about that for awhile. :D

Steve - I agree a trailer for a movie is an advertisment, but the product is just the movie. No one would expect a character in a movie to be real, however they would expect a trailer to advertise a real movie. I mean if you watched a trailer for say Spriderman and it showed lots of special effects and real actors. Then when you went to see the movie and it turned out to be a cartoon you would of been the victim of false advertising. By the way most movies here show in the credits a line that states something like. "The characters in this movie are fictional and any resemblance between people living or dead is purely coincidental"?
Also how did I say that the iPhone can be used as a lie detector?
Anyway what we think does not matter. Apple was using incorrect information in an advert and the ASA had the adv pulled. In the UK if you lie to the public you should expect to be sued.
In this case the fact the Apple lied to the public has been in the papers but I don't think it will effect iPhone sales.

Some of you really are clueless, the ads are not aimed at fans! Its aimed to sell as many units as possible. If the advert had not repeatedly said FAST all the way through then i agree theres no problem, but it emphasized speed many times and non geeks will assume its as fast as shown. Its all deliberately designed to con the public and sell more phones. Millions is spent on these ads, they know exactly what they are doing. You must either like being treated dumb or have clouded judgement because of you love for the your iphones, which i agree is a good phone (but overpriced)
Theres no point countering, because all the above is true.

It's obvious what Apple was doing here and they diserve what they got.
The reason they didn't put a big NOWHERE NEAR AS FAST AS THIS sticker across the ad is because they wanted the gen public (who, as it's been said, are much less tech savvy than all of us here) to think it was that fast and buy it, be disapponted - yet not enough to complain - and just shut up about it. That's not right.
As for these ludicrous examples flying around about cookies, spidermen and the like - they fall flat because they are clearly based on fantasy and no one with the common sense that jeremy loves so much would rightfully believe them to be true. The iPhone 3G ad, however, is clearly based on reality. Is it too much to ask for the consumer to expect it to be even mildly realistic?
I love and appreciate my iPhone (faults and all), but like Daniel, not so much that I'm willing to turn a blind eye to Apple's faults. Incidentally, I'd like to thank Daniel for level-headedly providing the much needed balance he spoke of at the begining of these response posts. P

So the writer of this article has no problem watching advertisements that are false, so long as those falsehoods are in regards to a "primary feature" ?
So if I made an ad that said I have a car that gets 100mpg, but actually gets 20mpg, it doesn't matter, because mpg is a primary feature of a car, consequently, so long as I lie about a major feature, it's ok?