Summary of Council decision:

1 issue investigated and Not Upheld

Ad description

A TV ad for the Apple iPhone X, seen in March 2018, featured text which stated "Radically new cameras with Portrait Lighting. Studio-quality portraits. Without the studio. See portraits in a whole new light".


Two complainants, who believed that the phone could not achieve studio quality photography, challenged whether the claim “Studio-quality portraits” was misleading and could be substantiated.


Apple stated that there was no industry standard definition of “Studio-quality” portraits. They said that there were wide variances between techniques, equipment, lighting and talent, among many others, and believed the term to be a subjective one.

Apple stated that the Portrait Lighting feature was the result of studying light and depth and provided users those tools to easily create studio lighting effects in the camera. They stated that the ad illustrated the Portrait mode feature, which used the dual cameras to create a depth field effect, and let users compose a photo such as those seen in studio images.

Apple stated that the 50 mm focal lens in the iPhone X was one of the most popular professional studio portrait lenses and the lighting options available on the phone mimicked what could be done in a studio.

Clearcast stated that they met Apple at the time the product was released for a demonstration of the product and found that the images in the ad were a fair reflection of the camera’s capabilities. They stated that “Studio-quality” was not an official, measurable term and that the quality of the photographs, to some extent, depended on the skill of the photographer.

Clearcast also stated that the lighting effects were designed to mimic what a shot would look like in a variety of specific directional lighting styles and that the visuals in the ad made very clear the post-production effects which could be applied to a photo that had already been taken.


Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad began with text which stated “iPhone X. Radically new cameras with Portrait Lighting”. Immediately following the claim “Studio-quality portraits. Without the studio”, the ad demonstrated the lighting effects that could be applied to pictures using the Portrait Lighting mode, before further text stated “See portraits in a whole new light”. In that context, we considered consumers would understand the term “Studio-quality portraits” to mean that the lighting effects on the phone allowed the user to imitate a portrait photograph taken in a studio.

We acknowledged that the camera on the iPhone X featured a focal lens commonly found in studio photography and understood that the images shown in the ad were photographs taken with the phone. We considered that the lighting effects that could be used when capturing and after having captured an image allowed the user to mimic a photograph similar to those taken in a studio.

We recognised that there were many effects, techniques and tools used in studio photography which played a vital role in capturing high standard images, many of which were not available to someone solely using the iPhone X. However, we recognised the emphasis was placed on the significance of the lighting effects on achieving the quality of image the ad demonstrated, and we understood that those images shown were a true reflection of the capabilities of the iPhone X’s camera. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules  3.1 3.1 The standards objectives, insofar as they relate to advertising, include:

a) that persons under the age of 18 are protected;

b) that material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;

c) that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;

d) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;

e) that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;

f) that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with [in particular in respect of television those obligations set out in Articles 3b, 3e,10, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 22 of Directive 89/552/EEC (the Audi Visual Media Services Directive)];

g) that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred"

Section  3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  2).
 (Misleading advertising),  3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  (Substantiation) and  3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service.  (Exaggeration), but did not find it in breach.


No action necessary.


3.1     3.12     3.9    

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