Ad description

A website ad for the iPhone 4 included the claim "And it's all contained in a beautiful enclosure a mere 9.3 millimetres thin, making iPhone 4 the world's thinnest smartphone".


The complainant challenged whether this claim was misleading because he believed that the Samsung Galaxy S II phone was thinner.


Apple (UK) Ltd (Apple) said that the iPhone4 had a uniform depth of 9.3 mm. They said, by contrast, the Galaxy S II had peaks and valleys to its design; the thickness ranged from 8.71 mm to 9.91 mm. Apple pointed out that the Galaxy S II had prominent bulges at the top of the device, where the cameras lens was, and at the bottom. They acknowledged that the Galaxy S II was thinner at points, but considered that they were still entitled to make their "thinnest" claim.

Apple defended their methodology of basing their thinness claims on the thickest part of the device. They said that consumers would not be interested in the thinnest part of the device, but in its overall measurements, as these would, for example, affect whether the device could fit into a pocket or a purse. They asserted that allowing thinnest claims to be made on the thinnest point of products would have a detrimental effect on consumers who could then purchase items that do not fit the space for which they had intended them.


Not upheld

We noted that the iPhone 4 had a uniform depth of 9.3 mm. We noted that the complainant objected that this was misleading because he believed the Samsung Galaxy S II was thinner. Whilst we noted that the Samsung product had thinner points, we considered that Apple's methodology for making the thinnest claim was reasonable. We considered that consumers would be less interested in whether certain points of a product were thin, if bulges in the product made its overall thickness greater. Because the iPhone4's thickest point was thinner than the thickest point of the Samsung Galaxy S II we concluded that the claim "the world's thinnest smartphone" was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  (Misleading advertising) and  3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are 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) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.7    

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