Apple Adds an Asterisk to iPhone Ad

By  |  Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Back on August 11th, I wrote about Apple’s slogan for the iPhone 3G–“Twice as fast. Half the price.”–and said that “Twice as fast sometimes, but don’t count on it” might be a more accurate slogan. Looks like Apple has come as close as it ever will to conceding the point.

I was just just browsing around for a post I’m working on, and noticed that the iPhone section still has the “Twice as fast. Half the price.” tagline. But at some point after my earlier post, Apple appended an asterisk:

The asterisk points to some fine print (really fine, at least on the HP Mini-Note I’m using at the moment), which was there before in some form, but unasterisked:

* Comparisons between iPhone 3G (8GB) and first-generation iPhone (8GB) running on EDGE. Actual speeds vary by site conditions. Requires new two-year AT&T rate plan, sold separately to qualified customers. Visit for eligibility information.

Apple isn’t much on asterisks–actually, I can’t think of a case where it’s used one before. (When it built a “Get a Mac” TV spot around a PC World reference, we had to approve the usage of its mention of our story, and Apple really didn’t want to insert any on-screen disclaimers.) For better or worse, it likes to keep its marketing materials like the bottom of a MacBook or the backside of an iPhone: as clean as possible. And even if you never read the fine print, the asterisk tells you that “Twice as fast. Half the price.” isn’t true in all instances, which makes the slogan way less compelling and therefore less Apple-ish.

But bold claims on behalf of the iPhone without any clarifying footnotes got Apple into trouble in the UK recently, and perhaps it’s decided to be more cautious from now on. I hope so–footnotes may be ugly, but they provide an important consumer service when they’re affixed to words that need additional explanation. Which “Twice as fast. Half the price” certainly does…

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  1. bud Says:

    I think they may have used them before Harry. But for the same general reason- AT&T.

    Check back to the original iPhone rollout ads. Sorry, no direct link to proof, just my feeling less surprised than you on this discovery.