ASA Slaps Motorola Over Misleading Atrix Advert


Motorola has been banned by the advertising watchdog from repeating a misleading Atrix advert

Motorola has been taken to task by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a misleading advert that claimed its Atrix handset was the most powerful.

In its ruling on the matter, the advertising watchdog said that it had received two complaints regarding a television advert for the Motorola Atrix, that on 4 June stated it was “the world’s most powerful smartphone.”

The people who made the claim said that the new Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 had a more powerful processor, and therefore the advert was misleading.

Motorola Defence

Motorola, which is currently in the process of being acquired by Google, defended its claim saying that the Atrix comes with a dual core (2 x 1GHz) processor that provides a computer-like speed of operation and capability. It also has 1GB of RAM, which supports a high level of multi-tasking and graphical data processing power, coupled with a webtop solution and surrounding accessory ecosystem.

Motorola felt that the combination of these technical features made the Atrix the world’s most powerful smartphone, however they did admit the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 had a slightly faster processor. For the record, the Samsung Galaxy SII uses a dual-core 1.2GHz processor.

However Motorola said the Samsung device did not operate the computer-like accessory ecosystem that the Atrix did. Furthermore, Motorola said that their advert did not make any claims about the Atrix’s processor, but “rather focused on the combined features of the performance and capability of the product.”

But this cut little ice with the advertising watchdog, which said the claim would confuse customers looking at the technical specifications of each phone.

Misleading Claim

“While we acknowledged the ad showed the phone being used with other associated accessories, we considered viewers would understand the claim ‘The world’s most powerful smartphone’, along with a close-up of the phone, to mean the phone, in isolation, was the most powerful smartphone,” said the ASA.

“Because the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 had a faster processor than the ATRIX, we considered the claim ‘The world’s most powerful smartphone’ had not been substantiated by comparative evidence and concluded that it was misleading,” concluded the ASA.

It ruled that the advert should not be run again.

ASA Action

Motorola is not the only tech company to run afoul of advertising guidelines.

In March mobile operator 3UK was rapped over the knuckles because of an advertisement claiming it has the best network for smartphones and mobile broadband.

And in July 2010, Orange incurred the regulator’s wrath over an advert that claimed Orange’s 3G network had a better reach than its rivals. At that time it was 3UK that challenged whether the claim could be substantiated, because it believed that it had the largest 3G network in the UK, based on population coverage.

Prior to that, Vodafone was told off for advert claims concerning its Sure Signal femtocell, which showed a man leaning out of a window on his phone and the slogan: “Only Vodafone can guarantee mobile signal in your home.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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