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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 grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:06PM (#7437895) Homepage Journal

    Conspiracy theorists take note, Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year.

    .. sure, but I'll also note that The site www.itc.org.uk is running Microsoft-IIS/4.0 on NT4/Windows 98. [netcraft.com] It's a ploy by Microsoft to bring that 36% number 'under control'..

    ..where's my tin foil hat?
    • Independent IT expert becomes one of The Ten Most Overpaid Jobs In The U.K.
    • Up 36% ... to a whopping 136 total. Whoopdie-do.
  • Which conspiracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Suffering Bastard (194752) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:06PM (#7437899)

    Conspiracy theorists take note, Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year.

    Which conspiracy theory should I be concerned with? The theory that the ITC is out to thwart Apple or the conspiracy between Apple and ITC to sell more Macs?

    Glad to see the UK take a stand for integrity in advertising.

    • Re:Which conspiracy? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rura Penthe (154319) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:18PM (#7438059)
      What a shame such "integrity" doesn't actually extend to anything but a very few "unpopular" ads. How many people who complained about this ad were "that guy".

      You all know the one I'm talking about. The guy you knew in middle school who hated Macs for no apparent reason. The one who would crow about bad financial reports while you were just trying to eat your Jello. Or maybe it's a "tech" guy you know who can't understand why anyone would use a Mac. "Windows is everywhere, it's clearly better" he'll say. Or "It's good enough, who cares about using anything else, Macs suck".

      There is an astounding amount of vitriol between Windows zealots and Apple (and of course Apple zealots and Microsoft). I find it difficult to credit this ad's banishment in the UK to "integrity in advertising". Instead I'd chalk it up to "caving to zealotry" on the part of the politicos.
      • I see that being a possibility.

        So far the only disagreeable zealotry I've found was one guy the pro Wintel side where many counterexamples were returned with profanity. I often wish computer zealots would get a grip, but man that one needed a padded cell.
      • You all know the one I'm talking about. The guy you knew in middle school who hated Macs for no apparent reason.

        Yeah, his name was Fred. :p

        Seriously though, I find it a little unsettling that someone would jump on Apple for this reason. My understanding is that the Brits are a practical, well-educated people. I don't think they need to be told to take advertisements with a grain of salt.
      • I'm no zealot, in fact, I really like a lot of the Apple products, but stating that the G5 is the world's fastest personal computer is really just a lie.
      • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:52AM (#7442468)
        It was pulled because it was at best misleading (there are PCs that have comparable performance to a G5 at the same price, even before it was released) and at worst, it is a bare faced lie. Zealotry has nothing to do with it I'm afraid. I own a Mac and a PC and I considered the claim highly dubious even as soon as it was made. It was doubly dubious in fact that it was touted as a 64-bit machine, failing to point out that nearly all of the OS and all of the software was still 32-bit rendering the claim rather specious and misleading.


        Apple have a long and illustrious track record of stretching the truth and this time they stepped over. I don't see what the fuss is. If they can't make claims are backed up by impartial facts and reality they deserve to be yanked every time.

  • by Cyphertube (62291) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:09PM (#7437934) Homepage Journal

    While some Apple fans may consider this censorship, personally I applaud the enforcement of standards in advertising.

    If standards were forced for truth-in-advertising in the U.S., we'd not only never hear about the G5 being the fastest computer, we'd also not hear about how much we can do for so little from Microsoft. We'd also stop having the stupid claims in oversized truck and SUV ads, diet pills, etc.

    • by CoreDump (1715) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:14PM (#7437986) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I got Windows XP after I saw the ads on TV. Imagine my dissapointment when I found it it wouldn't actually allow me to fly around. :(
    • by Carnildo (712617) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:14PM (#7437994) Homepage Journal
      If the standards were enforced, there'd be a severe shortage of ad revenue for television programs.
      • And maybe we could use all that bandwidth for something that's actually productive.
      • ...or every ad would be like a prescription drug ad, with lots of happy people dancing around in fields of flowers with their young children... "yeah, but what the hell does it DO?"
      • If the standards were enforced, there'd be a severe shortage of ad revenue for television programs.


        Or, maybe, people would trust the messages delivered through advertisements more knowing advertizers cannot get away with flat out lies and half-truths. In effect, such increased trust would bring a greater value to an advertizing dollar, and, hence, increased use of the medium.

        You can argue either way.
    • DIET PILLS?!?!? (Score:3, Offtopic)

      by milktoastman (572643)
      I take diet pills so I can fit into my RED DRESS and be on TELEVISION!!!!
      • Man, I hated Requiem for a Dream. (And Hey, moderator, it's NOT off topic if you understand the movie reference.) I hate it when I leave the theatre feeling dead tired because it was nothing but depression the whole way through and I had to fight to stay conscious.
    • 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 vari

    • I don't know if it'd really help much. The US advertising industry is remarkably complex and convoluted, partially to avoid being responsible for much of what they say. If you look closely, a huge number of them simply imply rather than come out and say something about the product, or twist events around to represent their product in ways that won't be applicable for the average user. Diet pills are a good example. A lot of them use normally fit or skinny people who've been recently bed ridden for for time,
    • We'd also not hear about how much we can do for so little from Microsoft

      We still have those adverts in the UK. Hmmm... wonder if they can prove it.
    • The next time you watch TV ads, take note of the wording of their claims. It's usually something very vague, or followed by small print / fast talking disclaimer. People have gotten used to this.

      Apple, on the other hand, blatently lied, saying their new G5 was "the worlds fastest, most powerful personal computer". They didn't say it was faster at a certain task, nor did they even mention it requires a unique OS and unique software. To 90% of the population, a Personal Computer is an x86 box running MS Wind
      • The most blatent example of weird ad wording, IMHO, was the Hostess Cupcakes ad several years ago. Mom gives the kids some cupcakes and says to the camera, "I like to know that my kids are getting a nutritional snack when they come home from school."

        Nutritional? She must have meant "nutritious," right? How can they possibly claim that Hostess Cupcakes are nutritious? But wait - when the ad company is spending big bucks to shoot an ad, wouldn't they just reshoot the scene if the actress blows the line? One


      • nor did they even mention it requires a unique OS and unique software.

        It is no more or less unique than ,say, Windows XP. Yes, Apple's ads lie a lot. Not mentioning that it uses a different OS than a competitor, however, wasn't an instance of that.


        To 90% of the population, a Personal Computer is an x86 box running MS Windows.

        It isn't Apple's job to make up for the ignorance of the consumer. In fact, when the general public is wrong, truth in advertising precludes catering to their notions.
    • personally I applaud the enforcement of standards in advertising

      I for one welcome our new borg overlords!

      But seriously folks truth-in-advertising laws are a very good thing... see Niven's known world series for some good speculation on what might happen in a world where lying advertisers are put to death...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:10PM (#7437942)
    I remember learning on a tour of Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory that in the UK, one cannot advertise anything that cannot be _PROVEN_. IIRC, Ben and Jerry's had to rename one of their flavors from something like "World's Best Ice Cream" to something else.

    This seems like an instance of _that_.

    PLEASE, no one make any "lickable" puns.

    -A
  • Mac's are also not faster than light.
  • Must buy G5 (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrycar (578010) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [racyrm]> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:13PM (#7437984) Homepage Journal
    Must buy a G5. Must have Most Powerful Personal Computer (TM). Must believe advertising. They wouldn't lie to me.

    By the time the ad was out, it was no longer the most powerful computer.
    • Must believe advertising. They wouldn't lie to me.

      Sure, we all realise that they don't tell the whole truth. The problem is that advertising also works on the subconsious level. Your brain uses a vast database to determine your response to any stimulus. Unfortunatly, that database is polluted with "information" from adverts. We find it next-to-impossible to differentiate between real knowledge and implanted knowledge.

      Don't believe me? Take a look at your shopping trolley next time you go grocery shoppin

    • I think you mean: "Must" buy a "G5". "Must" have "Most Powerful Computer" (T"M)". "Must believe" "advertising". "They" "wouldn't" "lie" """""to"""" """""me""""".
  • Superfalous? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:15PM (#7438010)
    I don't think any particular computer can be considered "the fastest in the world." Each architecture is designed such that one will always outshine the other in a specific set of functions. Apple may be faster in benchmark X, while Intel is faster in benchmark Y, while AMD is faster in benchmark Z, etc. etc. Apple does have some validity to their claim, but so would Intel and AMD if they were to announce themselves as the fastest in the world to.

    That's after the fact though. Companies will always proclaim their products as "the best, the fastest, the strongest." It's a fact of marketing- what company would say "Our products are mediocre, behind X and Y" and expect decent sales?
    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:05PM (#7438556) Homepage Journal
      Dear ITC, please ban ads from the following companies for over-the-top claims:
      1. BMW - "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Yeah, says who? I happen to like the Lexus better. I haven't seen evidence from any independent rating agencies to prove this.
      2. UPS - "Moving at the speed of bussiness". I have a copy of my physics text in front of me, and the speed of business is not a well-known constant. I haven't seen any independent ratings studying the speed of business and whether UPS can actually keep up.
      3. Guiness - "Guiness is good for you". Right then, next.
      4. Coca Cola - "Coke is it" What is it and how do we really know that Coke is it? Again, independent review is needed to see what 'it' really is, and whether, in fact, Coke is it or not it.
      5. Burger King - "We do it your way". No they don't. My way is devoid of entrails, non-wilted lettuce, and with a proper roll that is very much not like a sponge, so Burger King is misrepresenting 'my way'. They do it one of their ways, but not at all my way.
      6. British Airways - "The worlds favorite airline". Right, everyone in the world just loves British Air, especially for the cuisine. That's why Lufthansa gets such a bad rap.
      7. Acura - "The True Definition of Luxury. Yours." I've never once spoken with anybody at Acura, and I don't much know that I've ever reflected on the true definition of luxury, so malarky.
      8. Sun Microsystems - "We're the . in .com". They're not, really. Noone is. It's a bloody ASCII character, not a company. How pretentious.
      9. Qwest - "Ride the light". Light has no mass. It cannot be ridden.
      10. Budweiser - "The king of beers". Right. In fact, please ban the sale of Budweiser itself, not just the ads.
      11. Panasonic - "Just slightly ahead of our time" A company bloody claiming to engage in time travel! Einstein would have a coronary.
      12. Slashdot - "Stuff that matters". Ha!
  • Eight viewers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OECD (639690) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:16PM (#7438029) Journal

    They pulled the ad because EIGHT viewers complained? That's a little more responsive than over here in the US. (I'm not sure that's a good thing.)

  • I can say (Score:5, Funny)

    by iomud (241310) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:18PM (#7438056) Homepage Journal
    I have that G5 and it did indeed blow me out the side of my house.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:19PM (#7438063)
    I wonder how long till they ban IBM's Linux Ad [ibm.com] once they discover that Linux is not an 8-year-old boy?

    But wait, there is more. I have installed Windows2003 on one of my computers, and contrary to Microsoft's TV ads, it didn't save me 5 cents per business transaction. I was hoping to make a killing on that.

    In UK, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is simply known as I Swear It's Not Butter!
  • by kandresen (712861) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:20PM (#7438080)
    In Norway we have similar rules: You cannot air commercial claiming something that might be false.

    That means you cannot say your price is cheaper or faster or whatevre unless we are talking about to totally identical products. We are not here. The processor in the mac is totally different from a processor from AMD, Intel, Sun, etc. I can guarantee that if you compare a totally specialized processor for only one single operation, then that processor might be faster than the G5 processor in that particular field.
    It will then be false to say the processor used in the G5 is faster, even though the other only was faster on lets say integar calculations...
    • "You cannot air commercial claiming something that might be false."

      "Hi, were sorry, but you can't state anything factual any of your commercials without including cited studies that have no contradiction, error bars on your statistics, and be sure to use guarded language before everything."

      Since, after all, anything that has a type-1 error (everything that involves statistics) /might/ be false.
    • Your comments are completely off point. Lets take you arguement and parallel it with something else, say for example cars. Would a commercial from Dodge be pulled because it claims to have built the fastest factory street-legal cars? By your standards it would simply because it doesn't have the same engine as the Honda or Mitsubishi. Would an ad from Chevrolet be banned by stating their Silverado has the most torgue of any other factory half-ton pickup? By your standards it would because they don't use
    • In Norway we have similar rules: You cannot air commercial claiming something that might be false

      I think I prefer the US model (being a native, that's probably to be expected.) In the UK/Norway model, no car could be 'the fastest car', since it would have to be fastest at ALL distances, terrain, etc. Yeah, it's more accurate, but the annoying picky accuracy of grammar nazis.

  • 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.
    • 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 cl

  • I'd like to see some organization go after some of Apple's other promotional material as well.

    Apple's G5 Introduction Video [apple.com] is full of heavily edited quotes and comments from various industry leaders. I would personally like to see the raw comments, not Apple's spin.
  • The ITC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:26PM (#7438150) Homepage Journal
    makes a lot of lousy decisions, but it's usually better than if no decisions were made at all.


    Adverts should be held to certain degrees of honesty and integrity. In the US, you can (almost) say what you like, and get away with it. It's very rare that anyone's disciplined in any way, shape or form for misleading or deceptive practices, even when it's blatantly obvious fraud of the consumer is intended.


    In England, a few hundred complaints is usually enough to spark an ITC investigation into wrongful advertising. However, they're slow, beaurocratic, and often act in ways which gives the product and the misleading claims far more publicity.


    Nonetheless, they do some good. When a rogue advert is found and stopped, it does help bring a touch of reality to the industry. People tend to be a bit more skeptical, a bit more suspicious of claims that seem too good to be true. Which is good! Because it seems too good to be true, it probably is.


    Here is one of those instances that I'd like each country to borrow a bit from the other. I'd like to see more free speech protection in the UK, but I'd also like to see commercial speech better regulated in the US.


    (Commercial speech should not have the same protections as other forms of speech. It should be protected, especially where it is true, but it shouldn't be absolved of all responsibility - it has a lot more weight and power than just some person you happen to meet, and that weight and power needs to be accompanied by responsibility.)


    Mindless Note: I honestly believe that the UK and the US sit on different halves of understanding how to make a civilization that can respect itself and others, while remaining strong, free and a damn good place to be. I don't pretend to know how to fit those halves together, or what bits of which are the good bits. All I know is that both countries achieve a degree of happiness in areas that the other can't, that both have strengths the other doesn't, and that on the level of individuals, the wisest are the ones who learn from others.

  • or space monkeys. Gotta be one of those two. It's just gotta.
  • by ArmorFiend (151674) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:28PM (#7438173) Homepage Journal
    World's fastest processor? Now that apple no longer has the worlds god damned slowest processor, its no wonder their sales are picking up. I have a slide rule that can compute faster than my G4...
  • by sjonke (457707) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:29PM (#7438197) Journal
    In iTunes on my dual-G5 I can stop the M.C. Hammer track, "U Can't Touch This" in less than a 10th of second.
  • 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 A
  • Apple UK PC sales up 36% [yahoo.com]

    And I throught they sold Macs..?
  • ...Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year.

    From what to what?

  • by Nexum (516661) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#7438619)
    ... but get a few mates with their G5's together and it bloody well is the fastest personal computer [slashdot.org].
  • by wilko11 (452421) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#7438822) Homepage
    Surely the G5 itself should be banned for public safety. Any computer that can blow you through the walls of your house and into a tree should not be allowed!

    Oh wait. You mean I am supposed to use my judgement and work out what bits are the truth and what bits are advertsing hyperbole.

    Silly me! I though every part of every ad on TV was literal truth.

  • Silver lining... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psyconaut (228947) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:48PM (#7438993)
    Apple may have had their ads pulled...but look at all the free media advertizing the story generated ;-)

    -psy
    • Re:Silver lining... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      ' Apple may have had their ads pulled...but look at all the free media advertizing the story generated ;-)"

      I was waiting for someone to pull the PR aspect of this out of the mix!

      Welcome to the age where PR is becoming more credible/cost effective than advertising. It hasn't happened yet, but it will.

      I work in the advertising/marketing/PR industry, and I can tell you something that I'm sure many have realized already. Advertising is losing effectiveness (thanks to spam/bannerads/popups) and is losing cred

  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:17PM (#7439322)
    Slashdot might be banned, afer all it claims to contain "Stuff that matters" I await my -5 Mod punishment.
  • by tomem (542334) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:47AM (#7443716) Homepage Journal
    Last year the fastest cheapest processor we could find for our numerical simulation work was an Intel Gateway 3GHz, which cost about $2500, and has been wildly successful in attracting users away from older Sun workstations, around which it runs rings and Linux.

    This year, we will upgrade to a dual processor system, with an eye toward eventual clustering of larger numbers of them. In comparing dual Xeons with dual G5s, we find that the test numbers are a tossup (Macworld reports PCs are faster; while PCmag resports Macs are a bit faster, which they call "about even"). One thing that isn't much discussed is the big jump in bus speed for the G5, which approaches 1GHz, compared with a typical 400MHz for Intel systems. This should be a boon to I/O intensive jobs.

    Surprisingly, the deciding factor may be price: we get bids of about $4k for a dual Xeon system that is equipped comparably with a dual G5 that bids at $3k. So if the top Macs aren't definitively faster, they are at least certifiably cheaper! Who knew?

    But Apple would clearly prefer to be fastest rather than cheapest, and hence their advertising approach stresses speed for the money rather than money for the speed. One person's miles per gallon is another's liters per 100km...

    This continuing competition is clearly a win-win situation for consumers. May it continue...
  • by Dougal (1492) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:14PM (#7444602) Homepage
    This isn't a first for Apple in the UK. When they first used the PowerPC they advertised it as the first RISC based home computer. That might have been true in the US, but in the UK the ARM based Acorn Archimedes had already been out for a while, so they were forced to pull that ad.

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