Makers of desirable computer hardware Apple has been cleared by the UK's
Advertising Standards Authority over complaints that it inferred PCs were more
venerable to virus attacks than Macs.
The ads, starring comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb, stars of Peep
Show, as a PC and a Mac respectively. The ads have been plastered just
about everywhere and you can't really avoid them when you are in the UK. The
authority received 14 complaints from the public.
Some complaints centred on whether it was misleading and irresponsible to assert
that Mac owners wouldn't have to "worry about the viruses and spyware that PCs
do". Other complaints focused on claims that Macs crashed far less than PCs, and
implied that all PCs, regardless of the software or operating system they used,
were more likely to crash than Macs.
Apple said the claims were based on PCs that ran Microsoft Windows, which it
believed were more vulnerable to crashing, would contract more viruses and would
need to be restarted more frequently than Macs. It said the ads were targeted at
the home consumer, not the technology professional. The iPod makers said that
almost 97 per cent of home PCs were
used for non-commercial purposes and ran a version of Microsoft Windows; it said
it believed the claims were accurate for the ads target audience.
The ASA did not uphold any of the complaints lodged.
"The ads did not misleadingly imply all PCs, regardless of software or system,
were vulnerable to crashing and viruses," the ASA said in an adjudication
"We considered that people would understand that to mean viruses that infected
Windows-based PCs would not infect Macs and that Macs were less likely to be
infected by viruses than those PCs; not that Macs would never be infected by
viruses and did not require virus protection," the authority said. "We
concluded therefore that the ad was not irresponsible or likely to mislead."
Here is the adjudication.