Advertising Watchdog Bans Motorola Atrix Ad After Samsung Galaxy S II Users Complain

August 25, 2011
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British ads watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a ruling forbidding Motorola from running a Motorola Atrix video commercial claiming that the Motorola Atrix is the “world’s most powerful smartphone,” British news site The Telegraph reported earlier today.

The ruling came after users of the Samsung Galaxy S II filed two complaints with the ASA over the said ad. Here’s the ad in question:

Both the Motorola Atrix and the Samsung Galaxy S II (I9100) use dual-core processors, which practically make these Android smartphones faster than those with single-core processors. However, the processor on Motorola’s handset runs at 1.0 GHz, while that on Samsung’s runs at 1.2 GHz.

In its defense, Motorola explained that the commercial “did not claim the Atrix’s processor was the fastest, but rather focused on the combined features of the performance and capability of the product.”

The ASA, however, justified its ruling by saying “most viewers would understand the claim ‘the world’s most powerful smartphone’, in context to a smartphone, to mean that the product had, among other features, a faster processor than any other smartphone.” It is the 200-megahertz difference in processor clock speed that made the ASA contend that Motorola’s ad was misleading.

Admittedly, “most powerful” is a very ambiguous claim, for it can refer to speed (of a specific hardware component, or the network speed that the device is hooked up to, or the overall performance).

And, in advertising, the same phrase–along with several similar variations–is used ad nauseam to the point that the phrase and its ilk have become more of an empty catch-phrase rather than a false claim–for most folks, anyway.

For that reason, most careful buyers take pains to examine device specs and read the fine print–these are the buyers least likely to fall for claims of greatest power. Unfortunately, a lot of buyers don’t.

You want to have the “most powerful” smartphone, don’t you? What, to you, is the “most powerful” smartphone and why is it the “most powerful”?

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