Attorney General calls T-Mobile’s no-contract plans ‘deceptive’, carrier agrees to offer refunds and change advertising

T-Mobile-uncarrier-no-contract-plansFollowing the launch of T-Mobile’s new “Uncarrier” strategy alongside the $99 iPhone 5 and new no subsidy pricing plans last month, today the Washington State Attorney General has ordered T-Mobile to change its advertising calling its promise to offer no annual contracts “deceptive”.

The result of a court order filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and signed by T-Mobile will ensure the carrier’s commitment to changing advertising in order to properly outline “the limitations of its new no-contract” service plans. It will also allow “customers duped by the deceptive ads to exit their contracts with no penalty.”

“As Attorney General, my job is to defend consumers, ensure truth in advertising, and make sure all businesses are playing by the rules,” Ferguson said. “My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm.”

More specifically, the Attorney General’s investigation found T-Mobile “failed to disclose that customers who purchase a phone using the 24-month payment plan” would be required to stay with T-Mobile’s plans for 24 months or pay the balance owed on the phone in order to cancel their service. T-Mobile has been working with the Attorney General’s Office to come to a solution and has now agreed to the following terms: Read more

Steve Jobs’ ad man Ken Segall says Apple’s advertising has lost momentum to Samsung

In the video above, Bloomberg West speaks with 72andSunny’s partner and creative director Jason Norcross about the thinking behind some of Samsung’s latest campaigns. 

If there is one person qualified to discuss the state of Apple’s current marketing efforts, it’s Ken Segall. Working alongside Steve Jobs’ creative team for more than a decade, Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac, served as creative director at ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He created some of Apple’s most iconic ads such as the legendary Think Different campaign. Segall took some time on his Observatory blog today to share his thoughts on how “momentum has been lost” for Apple’s marketing department at the hands of none other than the company’s biggest rival, Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising…The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung…Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

According to Segall, the two big reasons Samsung’s advertising has eclipsed Apple’s is due to Sammy’s massive advertising budget and willingness to “bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.” Specifically, Segall pointed to Samsung’s decision to run creative new ads at the Super Bowl and Oscars:  Read more

Following closely behind Australia: Denmark, Sweden and UK’s advertising authorities looks at iPad ‘4G’ marketing claim

Yesterday, we reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wants Apple to lose the “4G” marketing for the third-generation iPad, alleging it misleads consumers into thinking the device is capable of accessing 4G networks in Australia. Reports from ABC news quickly followed and claimed Apple would give refunds to customers and publish clarification regarding incompatibility with the Telstra network. Apple’s AU website now has “Ultrafast wireless” instead of “Ultrafast 4G” on the main features page, despite still advertising 4G as a highlight of the device through its international sales pages.

Now, authorities in other countries where the new iPad is not compatible with local 4G networks are investigating the issue. Authorities in at least the United Kingdom and Sweden confirmed they are considering investigations…
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Advertising tricks Samsung uses to win over Apple fans

While Samsung does not think Apple can compete in the television market (and it is not alone), the company is moving aggressively to win over Apple’s fan base with the now infamous ‘Samsunged’ campaign— a cornerstone of the South Korean conglomerate’s communications strategy. So, who is behind those pesky adverts? Director Bobby Farrelly, who is the brother of movie director Peter Farrelly of the “There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Kingpin fame.”

However, it was Samsung’s ad agency 72andSunny that hired Farrelly to film a series of anti-Apple adverts depicting bored Apple fans waiting in line for a new iPhone. The mocking began last November and culminated with a 90-second Super Bowl commercial for the 5.3-inch Galaxy Tab device with a stylus. An interesting profile by AdWeek revealed some of the secrets and tactics marketers use to talk iPhone fans into considering Samsung products for their next gadget.

Click here for key takeaways.

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Apple makes changes to bring on more partnerships for iAd

The Wall Street Journal reported this evening that Apple isn’t seeing the success they’d like with their iAd platform. The company has deployed iAd as an advertising platform throughout their iOS devices in the summer of 2010 and is now making changes in the hope of attracting both more developers and ad spending. First off, Apple is reportedly lowering the entry-level cost for marketers to $400,000 – down from $500,000 and even lower from the original $1 million when the platform was launched. Apple is also reportedly putting new caps on what it charges for clicks on ads, letting advertisers pay $10 each time an advert is viewed every 1,000 times (CPM) and $2 every time it’s specifically tapped on.

So why is Apple making these changes? Apple had tied for the lead in ad market share last year, but has reportedly fallen back to the third place in 2011 advertising market share, behind Millennial Media (#2) Google (#1), per IDC. Hoping to re-gain lost share, Apple is also launching a training program to bring in more advertisers onto the network, partnering with its media buying agency OMD, part of Omnicom Group Inc. to educate new advertisers on iAd, a standard practice providers of digital advertising platforms such as Google and Yahoo! have been exercising from the onset. In the recent weeks, executives from Pepsi, Clorox and JC Penny have reportedly visited Apple’s campus to talk about iAd. OMD also hopes to lure more advertisers in February 2012.

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