Watchdog bans Apple Power Mac G5 ads

Misleading claims

Apple adverts that claimed its Power Mac G5 was "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer" have been banned in the UK following complaints from eight AMD fans... er... viewers.

The ban, which applies to the G5 campaign that feature a user being blasted through the walls of his house, was imposed by the Independent Television Commission (ITC), a watchdog that monitors broadcasters and advertisers on terrestrial television in the UK.

The ITC considered that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim "world's fastest, most powerful personal computer'," the organisation's web site says. The ad was judged to be "misleading".

According to the ITC, "viewers complained that the advertising was misleading because the main claim was based on the results of limited tests in which the specification of the computers used was configured to give Apple the best results".

These complaints followed similar grumbles from the UK's Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), the NGO used by the ITC to vet adverts before they are shown. The BACC's "independent IT expert" questioned Apple's claims, but Apple was able to satisfy the organisation's concerns, and consequently the G5 advert was approved for broadcast.

"The advertiser [Apple] provided the ITC with evidence which it claimed showed that the tests, carried out by an independent third party, were 'fair and even'," the ITC's web site says.

However, "due to the technical nature of the advertiser's response, the ITC asked the BACC to refer the complaints and the response to the BACC's expert. He found that the claim was not supported by independent reviews and that at best 'the G5 was generally as fast as the best Intel-based workstations currently available'," the organisation adds.

The judgment is a blow to Apple, which by and large has rarely offended anyone with its advertising in the UK. According to advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is has received only two complaints about the company's ads since January 1999, neither of which were upheld after review. ®