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Technology (Apple) Businesses Apple Technology

Apple G5 Ads Banned In UK 709

Posted by simoniker
from the bestest-mostest dept.
Justen writes "The Independent Television Commission has quietly banned Apple from airing an advertisement (in QuickTime here) for the Power Mac G5 in the UK. The Committee says that, prior to the initial broadcast of the ad, it was critical of the assertion that the Power Mac G5 is "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer." However, Apple supplied what was asserted to be "fair and even" data, based partially on SPEC benchmarks, which "substantiated" Apple's claims and "satisfied" the concerns of their "IT expert." However, the Committee says some "viewers complained that the advertising was misleading," and thus, after an investigation, it reversed its original decision. The Committee has now decided that the ad "should not be re-shown in its current form." Conspiracy theorists take note, Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year."
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Apple G5 Ads Banned In UK

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:12PM (#7437971)
    Key word "partially." Compare the Apple results to the official x86/Xeon/etc. scores. For an even bigger laugh, compare the official results to the ones that Apple claimed the Intel machines scored.

    Maybe Al Franken should write a book about Steve Jobs and his advertising group. ;)
  • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:16PM (#7438019) Homepage Journal
    Sure about that? If so, click here [pcworld.com].
  • by Talthane (699885) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:17PM (#7438037)

    The ITC isn't always correct. It is merely the body which takes an "official" view based on its assessment of the world to date and has power to act accordingly. This is roughly akin to some federal US government organisation banning something on the grounds it thinks it's harmful or somehow misleading, regardless of whether you think it's OK.

    While I think the ITC has a function in clear-cut cases, it's questionable whether it should take action in situations that are open to debate or subject to many variables.

  • by Darren Winsper (136155) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:21PM (#7438090) Homepage
    You can buy Athlon and P4 based computers that'll stomp on the G5 for certain tasks (Such as playing some games). Thus, I think Apple is misleading the consumer, since their advertising seems to lead the consumer thinking it's the fastest in general, which it clearly is not.

    I think the ITC is right to ban the advert, but then again, I think there are a lot of adverts on British TV that should be banned.
  • You can sometimes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tim Ward (514198) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:21PM (#7438098) Homepage
    one cannot advertise anything that cannot be _PROVEN_

    You can if it is "obvious" that it isn't meant to be taken seriously.

    Someone (possibly even CAMRA was it?? - must have been a very off day) once complained about the Heineken ads, on the grounds that it was not true that it "refreshed" some of "the parts other beers cannot reach" as illustrated on the advertisements.

    The complaint was thrown out as being daft, because it was perfectly clear that you weren't supposed to believe the advertisements in the first place.
  • by Talthane (699885) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:22PM (#7438105)

    No, but you can't lay claim to something that is objectively proven by measurable criteria. Taste is subjective, speed is not.

    Of course, what counts as measurable criteria is decided by the ITC. Hence the complaints; although the ITC is incredibly powerful when it wants to be. Case in point - it can ban Apple from its second most lucrative market, even though this is a relatively small country in population terms.

  • by kc8apf (89233) <kc8apf&kc8apf,net> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:24PM (#7438134) Homepage
    Maybe you should take a minute and actually look at what _you_ are comparing. The scores quoted by Apple for the Intel machines explicitly stated that GCC was used as the compiler to remove the compiler as a variable. The published scores on SPEC's website do not. You are comparing cows to telephone poles.

    Now, comparing G5 results with GCC to x86 results with GCC is pretty fair when you are comparing the hardware only, not the software. That is what they claimed to be showing.
  • by easychord (671421) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:34PM (#7438256)
    http://www.asa.org.uk/

    SUBSTANTIATION
    3.2 If there is a significant division of informed opinion about any claims made in a marketing communication they should not be portrayed as generally agreed.

    HONESTY
    6.1 Marketers should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers.

    TRUTHFULNESS
    7.1 No marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.

    COMPARISONS WITH IDENTIFIED COMPETITORS AND/OR THEIR PRODUCTS
    18.1 Comparative claims are permitted in the interests of vigorous competition and public information. They should neither mislead nor be likely to mislead.
    18.2 They should compare products meeting the same needs or intended for the same purpose.
    18.3 They should objectively compare one or more material, relevant, verifiable and representative features of those products, which may include price.

    No reason why you couldn't apply these rules to microsoft or intel adverts and get them pulled. They are normally more careful though.
  • Re:Which conspiracy? (Score:3, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:53PM (#7438441) Homepage Journal
    It's called the Independent Television Commission because it regulates independent (ie non-BBC) TV.
  • Other banned ads included Burger King for claiming to have the best tasting fries, Ford for claiming to have the smoothest-running automobile, and Wal-Mart for claiming to have low prices everyday.

    In the US, we have a term called 'puffery', which refers to advertising that is clearly hyperbole, and is so outrageous that the average man-on-the-street (not your gullible aunt) would not believe it. Puffery is perfectly legal, which is why you can freely advertise "greatest fries in the world!"
    However, to claim "best testing fries", they have to have a disclaimer - Burger King has fine print saying "based on independent taste tests", McDonald's has fine print saying "based on sales". Both can therefore claim 'best-tasting fries' without having to measure 'taste'.

    Claiming a computer will blow you through the wall of your house is clearly puffery (and I'm wondering what the computer blows you with), but 'fastest personal computer' can be tested.

    The question here is how unbiased that test was - both Apple's and ITC's.

    -T

  • Re:The ITC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan-DAFC (545776) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:21PM (#7438706) Homepage

    Why is it that some government agency can say what some broadcaster puts on the air.

    The ITC is not a government agency. From the ITC website [itc.org.uk]:

    As our name suggests, we're independent of the Government and of the broadcasters. We are funded by fees from our licensees, of which there are around 300 who between them hold nearly 600 licences.

    When an advertisement lies, at least in the US, you have the right to sue for false advertisement.

    In the UK, as you would expect, if you have been wronged in the eyes of the law you can sue. If you don't like the ITC's decision and you have good grounds, sue. We do however try to avoid the US disease of the lawsuit culture.

    Wait a second, they are all controled by the ITC.

    Half right. All commerical stations are controlled by the ITC. The BBC is self-regulating.

  • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:59PM (#7439139) Homepage
    Wrong. The only way to compare the hardware is to use the best compiler for each: intel on x86 and IBM's compiler on G5

    Close! The way to compart the hardware is to use the compiler recommended by the Manufacturer for each product. Intel, for performance, would reccomend their own compiler [intel.com] while IBM, who contributed the G5 code generator to the GCC project, would recommend theirs (in this case, GCC.)

    Using "GCC" for both isn't fair because the code generators and optimizers are completely different. The only fair thing is to use what the Manufacturer suggests for optimum performance.

    Apple's initial benchmarks were weird, too, because they compared a machine that would not ship for FOUR months (and I'm being generous here) to a 6-month old DELL unit. Fair would be to ask Dell for a sample of a machine to be released next quarter and test against that.

    As it is, the P4, even crippled with HT turned off, BEAT the G5 with its faster bus in all the integer tests. By Apple's own admission.

  • by Doc Squidly (720087) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:04PM (#7440342)
    I think the problem comes from the fact that the numbers Apple submitted don't match the numbers on the SPEC website. Add to that concerns about VeriTest's methods and you could see how one might consider Apple's claims misleading. Of course Apple could have called it "One of the world's fastest personal computers" and been ok. Conspiracy against Apple? No, their ads are still on in the U.S. Had this been done by AMD or Intel people would realy be out for blood. But, claims like this are nothing new from Apple.

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