For the past few days, Chinese manufacturer Huawei has come under fire for using images captured from a DSLR camera to portray them as pictures taken from its phone's front camera.
In a Huawei Egypt ad, the company used pictures clicked from a DSLR and showed them as images clicked by the Nova 3i's front camera.
The misleading act was caught out by the internet when the actress in the advertisement posted a behind the scenes photo from the shoot on her Instagram account. The post shows the proper setup behind the pictures and it is much more than just a phone's front camera.
As the issue came to light, the actress took down the photo. However, a Reddit user u/AbdullahSab3 was quick to take a screenshot (See below).
Now, although Huawei hasn’t said that the phone's front camera clicks such pictures, these images are misleading.
Apple shoots many of its commercials with iPhones, to give people an idea about the phone’s prowess. Hence, people may assume that these images were actually taken from the Huawei phone’s front camera.
Also, Huawei did not put out a disclaimer that the photos were not shot from the phone's camera. This could be misleading.
However, this is not the first time phone companies have pulled this kind of misleading marketing techniques. The thing to realise is that someone always points it out.
Huawei itself, in 2016 published a promo photo that portrayed its P9 smartphone's camera prowess, Android Police reported. The company published the photo on Google+, without knowing that Google+ preserves the camera metadata in every image posted.
The photo, of a woman holding her hair looks too good to be true for a smartphone camera even today, let alone 2016.
However, the EXIF data for the photo on Google+ shows that the photo Huawei marketed as clicked from the P9 camera is actually from a camera worth more than Rs 2 lakh (Canon 5D Mark 3), while the EF70-200mm lens used costs somewhere around Rs 86,000.
For that kind of money, you can buy a complete stock of Huawei P9 smartphones.
Again, Huawei did not explicitly say that the picture was taken from the P9, but it also didn't say it was. Here's what the brand had tweeted along with the picture, according to Android Police:
"We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise with Deliciously Ella. The #HuaweiP9’s dual Leica cameras makes taking photos in low light conditions like this a pleasure. Reinvent smartphone photography and share your sunrise pictures with us. #OO"
In its statement to Android Police, Huawei said - "The photo, which was professionally taken while filming a Huawei P9 advert, was shared to inspire our community. We recognise though that we should have been clearer with the captions for this image. It was never our intention to mislead. We apologise for this and we have removed the image."
Another smartphone manufacturer who has a similar misleading advertisement, is Nokia. Yes, the Finnish manufacturer also did something similar while advertising its Lumia 920 smartphone. In order to show the phone's optical image stabilisation, Nokia used proper equipment, along with a tracking vehicle to record the clip they advertised as the one with optical image stabilisation.
In the commercial, the girl riding a bicycle is being recorded by her friend who is holding a Lumia 920 as he rides the cycle next to the woman.
However, looking closely, you can see the camera crew in a refection, as clearly pointed out in this video:
Nokia too, nowhere said that this footage has been taken from the Lumia 920 but people did believe that this was the phone's footage.
Here also, a disclaimer telling us that this was not shot from the phone's camera would have been the decent thing to do.
Korean giant Samsung also fell in this soup, passing off professional pictures as clicked from its phone's front camera.
While promoting the Galaxy A8 in Brazil, Samsung used photos from Getty images and passed them off as pictures clicked from the phone’s front camera.
According to Digit, this was spotted by one twitter user @feliperas. Samsung's case was worse as it actually claimed that the images were taken from the A8's front camera, while replying to @feliperas's reply to the initial tweet:
When the twitter user asked Samsung Brazil as to who it was fooling? The company responded by saying "this is ours, isn't it nice?".
According to the Digit report, the Twitter user then dug into other photos posted by Samsung Brasil and found the original images along with their prices. When the user again replied to the company’s tweets, Samsung realised it and responded saying, “Oops, sorry, you're right, Feliperas. The answer given before was not really correct. Many of the photos we post are taken using our smartphones, but some, like that, are images that also express the attitude of our target audience.”
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