Does Microsoft’s new Zune commercial falsely advertise nonexistent touchscreen capability?

Microsoft’s new commercial for the company’s Zune 4GB/8GB product seems to attempt to imply touchscreen capability upon a device that lacks a touchscreen. Microsoft lacks a device that can compete with Apple’s iPod touch, a touchscreen device with the multi-touch user interface.

In the commercial a girl sitting in an outside cafe is shown touching the Zune’s screen which takes her on a trippy Alice-in-Wonderland-like journey (as opposed to the typical Zune user’s fruitless journey to find an ecosystem of accessories or even another user with whom to “squirt”):

Direct link via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0ZWXIf1Jq8

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Michael” for the heads up.]

Do you think that the average person viewing this ad could be confused and expect a Zune to have touchscreen capabilities? If so, they’ll likely be quickly returning their Zune post-haste. Maybe Microsoft hopes to make money on Zune restocking fees, since they can’t seem to sell the devices based on their actual merits in any meaningful numbers.

Advertising in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a United States administrative agency, to prohibit, “unfair and deceptive acts or practices in commerce,” according to Wikipedia in their entry “False advertising.”

Wikipedia further states, “What is illegal is the potential to deceive, which is interpreted to occur when consumers see the advertising to be stating to them, explicitly or implicitly, a claim that they may not realize is false and material. The latter means that the claim, if relied on for making a purchasing decision, is likely to be harmful by adversely affecting that decision. Evidence must be obtained for what consumers saw the ad saying, and for the materiality of that, and for the true facts about the advertised item, but no evidence is required that actual deception occurred, or that reliance occurred, or that the advertiser intended to deceive or knew that the claim was false. The goal is prevention rather than punishment, reflecting the purpose of civil law in setting things right rather than that of criminal law. The typical sanction is to order the advertiser to stop its illegal acts, or to include disclosure of additional information that serves to avoid the chance of deception, but there are no fines or prison time except for the infrequent instances when an advertiser refuses to stop despite being ordered to do so.”

Do you think this Zune ad constitutes false advertising?

MacDailyNews Note: The song — which you can buy via Apple’s iTunes Store wink — is “Lake Michigan” by Rogue Wave.

82 Comments

  1. I think the jelly fish are synonymous with the real influence of this commercial…….mushrooms.

    And with mushrooms, anything you touch can change, including your own face.

    Look for a new Zune update to arrive one spring morning after a rain. Be sure to look in the piles of bull sh!t…..

  2. I’m not so sure it implies touchscreen capability, I think it’s more inline with the whole Alice in Wonderland thing you mentioned.

    Not sure what demographic they’re trying to hit with this ad either. It certainly isn’t mine.

    What a piece of crap…

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