Stretching the truth with iPhone X

Since the dawn of time, advertisers have stretched, exaggerated and mutilated the truth to get consumers’ attention.

Hey, that’s life. It’s also why advertising is a consistent bottom-dweller in every “most respected profession” survey.

But there is hope for mankind.

Some companies have a refreshingly strong sense of advertising ethics. They believe that their products are so good, an honest portrayal is the most effective advertising tool.

Apple has always been one of those companies. That’s one reason I was so attracted to it when I was a baby copywriter.

Apple advertising was always creative and fun, but it was also intelligent and accurate. That’s what made it the industry’s “gold standard” for marketing.

That’s why it makes me nervous when I see today’s Apple playing loose with words and images to sell a product.

Case in point: the “all-screen” iPhone X.

 

Exactly who is edge-to-edgier?

Of course we can see with our own eyes that iPhone X is not all-screen. It has a noticeable edge around the entire display, which even the Samsung S8 does not have. And then there is “the notch” — the object of many a critic’s venom.

For the moment, let’s assume you’ve convinced yourself that you really do have an all-screen phone. Now it’s just a question of execution. Your marketing will drive that point home, right?

Well…

See Exhibit A at the top of this article. On the iPhone X web page, this is the very first panel a visitor sees.

“It’s all screen,” says the headline. Yet, astonishingly, the image focuses almost entirely on the only two parts of the phone that are not screen—the visible edge and the notch.

Kind of amazing, actually. Especially for Apple. In the past, it’s been so very good at shining a powerful light on its products’ best features. Here, that light seems so badly aimed.

The all-screen claim is fragile enough by itself. The last thing it needs is to be undone by its own marketing.