When it was discovered that Nokia misleadingly simulated the “optical image stabilization” effect of the upcoming Lumia 920 in both video and photo formats — by shooting with a DSLR instead — there was a warranted outcry. The company quickly recovered, issuing an apology and subsequently adding a disclaimer to the ads that the effect was “simulated,” but the damage was done.
At its core, it brings to light many of the ethical quandaries companies face in technology advertising campaigns. Apple, for example, simulates the speed at which its iPhone can perform certain tasks in its point-of-view commercials, but indicates at the bottom that the results are not typical. Nokia’s omission, and subsequent embarrassing admission, will possibly overshadow the products themselves, and risk drowning out the good grace of what was otherwise a flawless, and impressive, product launch.
According to Bloomberg, the company is launching an internal ethics investigation to discover exactly what happened inside the company that allowed such shenanigans to happen. A company spokesperson, Susan Sheehan, said “What we understand to date is that it was nobody’s intention to mislead, but there was poor judgment in the decision not to use a disclaimer.” The evidence of fakery was discovered by The Verge, in which a cameraman and an artificial light was seen in a reflection of a van window.
But what must be understood is that Nokia never actually claimed the ads were shot using a Lumia 920; rather, the impression was left in the viewers’ eyes. An outright denial would have arguably taken away some of the magic, but would have also prevented a scenario such as the one we’re dealing with today.