I’m becoming increasingly bewildered by the UK’s advertising standards rulings (e.g. on cable allowed to be described as fibre broadband).

Latest is that the ASA has decided that Apple’s iPhone should not be advertised as offering access to all the Internet.

Interesting points:

  • There’s an implicit assumption here that the Internet = the web. It doesn’t. Think about Skype, instant messaging, email applications, iTunes downloads, peer to peer apps, etc. etc.
  • Irony is that the iPhone does offer a much greater amount of the Internet and access to more different web sites than any other mobile phone.
  • Double irony is that following the same ASA logic, the Mac could not be advertised as offering all the Internet either due to the number of sites that still require Internet Explorer. There is no Mac OS version of IE6 or version 7.
  • For similar reasons, and just because they don’t run Windows and Internet Explorer, many of the new tiny cheap netbook-class laptops running Linux can’t access some websites or some parts of those sites. Will the ASA intervene here too?
  • Many of the key sites that require Flash or Java plug-ins do work on the iPhone through specific iPhone applications, or special iPhone websites. Examples: BBC iPlayer; Youtube; Last FM; iTunes shop; Truphone; Palringo; AIM; Remote Desktop; Mocha VNC etc. etc.

My take – the spirit of Apple’s advertising was correct.