Nokia launched the Lumia 920 today, their new "flagship phone" drumming up excitement because it's one of the first to be optimized for Windows 8. But the Verge busted Nokia for skipping a disclaimer in one of the new ads promoting the extra clear PureView camera feature.
First, here's the PureView ad. See if you can spot what they did:
Here's what you're supposed to see, as explained by the Verge's T.C. Sottek:
As he films her breezily laughing, the ad shows side-by-side video — obviously intended to represent the phone's video capabilities. On the left, Nokia shows the non-stabilized version, which, predictably, looks terrible, and on the right the ad shows the perfectly smooth capture, purportedly enabled by Nokia's optical image stabilization technology.
Which is great, until they pull back the curtain and reveal the shots that are supposed to be taken with the Lumia 920 weren't at all. Let the video explain:
Oops. If this isn't faking it 'till you make it... The shots you're led to believe are taken by some hipster doped up on love driving a bicycle are actually taken by a good ol' fashioned camera crew. And there's no disclaimer telling you that you've been duped.
Tech commercials lie to us pretty often. They deceptively make their features seem stronger than they are with editing and camera work. They usually make sure to include a disclaimer to cover them if someone tries to complain, but that's where Nokia came up short and the Verge called them on it. It's what you might call the necessary fine print.
Siri is a pretty notable repeat offender. All of those ads with people having conversations with Siri, like this one with a fourteen year old aspiring guitarist, come with a fat disclaimer at the end that says, "sequences shortened," because that's not how Siri really works. See for yourself:
Just in case you missed the disclaimer, we made sure to grab it for you:
Then there's the monster disclaimer at the end of this Samsung Galaxy Note ad:
It's a bit harder to miss:
But our favorite part of the Samsung disclaimer is this:
All functionality, features, specifications and any other information about the product or services described in this video including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability and capabilities of the products or services are subject to change without notice, and Samsung reserves the right to make changes to this video and the product or services described herein, at anytime, without prior notice.
Which is to say, anything about the can change at any given moment. Like, it could get killed by Apple.
There's also this Verizon 4G LTE ad that carries a fairly common disclaimer:
Did you catch it? It's here:
Unlike Apple or Samsung, Verizon had the good sense to put their disclaimer up in the very middle of the ad while you're still paying attention. The other two waited until the final few seconds. The Verizon disclaimer reads:
Screen images simulated. Sequences Shortened. Photos taken with a 5 megapixel camera. Actual download speeds will vary.
The "screen images simulated" is a common warning for gadget ads, and the one Nokia got in trouble for skipping. Screens rarely look as good when being videotaped as they're advertised to. There's lighting and reflections (which got Nokia caught, natch) to worry about, so they blue screen a glossier version in post-production.
Nokia's already added a note to their official advertising page. "The Lumia 920 pictures in this post were taken using prototype hardware and software, and then reduced dramatically in size. In addition, the OIS video, above, was not shot using the Lumia 920," it reads. They told the Verge it was "'never the company's intention to deceive anyone,' but only to demonstrate the benefits of optical image stabilization." There's no clarification over what was used to film the commercial, whether it was a normal DSLR or a phone camera prototype fitted with PureView. A DSLR would be able to handle that kind of image stabilization load pretty well. Until the ad gets pulled or updated, it can still be shared by all over Youtube disclaimer free.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.