UK Advertising Standards Authority Upholds Complaint Against Apple’s G5 Advertising

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For the second time, a UK advertising regulatory body has ruled against Appleis advertising campaign for the Power Mac G5. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an independent body with authority over advertising in the UK, upheld one of three complaints from the public against Appleis marketing claims about how fast the Power Mac G5 is; the other two complaints were not upheld.

In November of last year, we reported that the UKis Independent Television Commission (ITC) had ruled that Appleis advertised claim that the Power Mac G5 was the fastest PC on the planet could not be justified, and that the commercial could not be aired. This weekis ruling from the ASA is similar, but concerns the magazine campaign that accompanied the TV commercials.

The short version of the ruling is that Appleis claim that the Power Mac G5 was the worldis fastest G5 was not true in all instances, and therefore isnit true at all. Complaints that the Power Mac G5 was not actually the first PC (personal computer) to use a 64-bit processor, and that it was the first PC to "shatter the 4 GB memory ceiling," were not upheld.

The ruling, which was issued on June 9th, in its entirety:

Complaint:
Objections to two magazine advertisements for the Power Mac G5 PC. One stated "The new Power Mac G5 is here. Itis the worldis fastest computer, and the first with a 64-bit processor ...". The other advertisement stated "... Introducing the revolutionary PowerPC G5 processor, the worldis first 64-bit processor for personal computers ... the G5is 64-bit architecture addresses dramatically more memory - over 4 billion times more than 32-bit chips - so that the systems built around the G5 can shatter the 4-gigabyte memory ceiling that limits every other PC on earth ...". The complainants challenged the claims:

1. "the worldis fastest personal computer";

2. "the first with a 64-bit processor" and

3. "the systems built around the G5 can shatter the 4-gigabyte memory ceiling that limits every other PC on earth."

1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers explained that the G5 was tested against the Dell Dimension 8300 and the Dell Precision 650, at their request, by an independent technology testing company; they believed those machines were the G5is closest competitors. The advertisers maintained that the tests were fair and showed the G5 was faster than the Dell Dimension 8300 and Dell Precision 650 for floating-point calculations and Integer calculations as well as for real-world applications such as Photoshop, standard programmes for professional and music audio creation and scientific analysis of genetic research. The Authority took expert advice. It understood from the advice that the advertisersi tests showed the Power Mac G5 was faster than the other two processors on some applications under certain conditions, but not that it was the fastest processor in all circumstances for all applications. It also understood that the G5 machine tested was still under development and the tests seemed to be configured in a way that might have given the Power Mac G5 an unfair advantage. The Authority was not satisfied that the advertisers had justified the claim "the worldis fastest computer" and asked them not to repeat it.

2. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers maintained that the Power Mac G5 was the first 64-bit processor available in a personal desktop computer. They said that, although other 64-bit processors existed at the time the claim was made, they were not available in personal computers. They acknowledged that another 64-bit processor was now available in personal computers, but maintained that the claim was correct when the advertisement appeared. The Authority understood from expert advice that, although 64-bit processors had been available before the G5 was launched, those computers were normally described as "workstations", designed for business use, not personal computers. Although it accepted that some people may have used 64-bit machines as personal computers before the advertisement appeared, the Authority considered that most people would interpret the claim in the context of machines designed for personal computing. Because it understood that the advertisersi 64-bit processor was the first one available as standard in a personal computer at the time the advertisement appeared, the Authority accepted the claim.

3. Complaints not upheld
The advertisers explained that the system built around the G5 allowed users to scale memory up to 8GB as workflow demanded. They said users could access up to twice as much memory as with any other PC. They pointed out that tests showed that other systems such as the Dell Dimension 8300 and the Dell Precision 650 could offer 4GB of main memory only. The Authority took advice. It understood that most personal computers were not equipped to address more than 4GB of memory and could not do so without additional hardware, whereas the Power Mac G5 had an inbuilt ability to address more than 4GB. The Authority accepted the claim.

You can find the complaint at the ASAis Web site.

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