ASA Adjudication on Apple (UK) Ltd
Apple (UK) Ltd
1 Roundwood Avenue
27 August 2008
Computers and telecommunications
Number of complaints:
A TV ad, for the iPhone, showed the phone in someone’s hand and a finger switching it on to reveal the menu page. The finger touched the weather icon showing the forecast for Cape Town and then navigated through a Heathrow Airport area map, a Safari icon, hotels and stock market webpage. The iPhone rang and the hand was shown answering it. During the ad, the voice-over said “ 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 the parts of the internet are on the iPhone”. The ad ended with on-screen text that stated “iPhone. Only on O2”.
Two viewers believed the claim that all parts of the internet were accessible was misleading because they understood that the iPhone did not support Flash or Java, both integral to many web pages.
BCAP TV Code
Apple said the aim of the ad was to highlight the benefit of the iPhone in being able to offer availability to all internet websites, in contrast to other handsets which offered access to WAP versions or sites selected by service providers. They believed that surfing the internet with an iPhone was similar to surfing from a home or office computer and the appearance and the websites that could be visited were the same. They said this was different from accessing the internet using an ordinary mobile phone handset, which often only allowed the user to visit WAP-enabled sites that were simplified versions of the websites. They said they understood that some mobile service providers limited the range of sites available to subscribers or only allowed them to visit the WAP versions; they said the iPhone, which was only available through one service provider, had 'full' internet access.
Clearcast said, in order to assess the claims, they saw a demonstration of the iPhone and in particular the internet functionality. They said a number of websites were chosen at random and they appeared to work as described in the ad. They said, on the basis of the demonstration and the advertiser's assurances, they were content to approve the claims relating to access to the internet.
The ASA noted that Java and Flash proprietary software was not enabled on the iPhone and understood that users would therefore be unable to access certain features on some websites or websites that relied solely on Flash or Java. We noted Apples argument that the ad was about site availability rather than technical detail, but considered that the claims "You'll never know which part of the internet you'll need" and "all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone" implied users would be able to access all websites and see them in their entirety. We considered that, because the ad had not explained the limitations, viewers were likely to expect to be able to see all the content on a website normally accessible through a PC rather than just having the ability to reach the website. We concluded that the ad gave a misleading impression of the internet capabilities of the iPhone.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 5.2.2 (Implications).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)