Apple lays down law to advertisers
Chief executive Tim Cook, video site YouTube and any references to glitches or hacking - these are just some of the words Apple bans its iPhone distributors from using in advertisements for the new iPhone 5.
Apple's tough rules on how distributors can promote the popular smartphones, obtained by Fairfax Media, run to a dozen pages and specify the format of advertisements in minute detail.
Distributors are even instructed to avoid exclamation marks and use of the word "new".
The guidelines cover promotional requirements in all media platforms, from digital to print, and dictate that all advertising must be approved in advance.
Industry sources said distributors that failed to comply with the diktats ran the risk of being cut off from supply of Apple products.
"It is fair to say Apple runs a very tight ship, and while it is unusual for a supplier to have so much control over the way we do business, you have to admire the results they get," a telco executive, who declined to be named, told Fairfax Media.
"They are consistent and their brand is one of the strongest in the world."
The guidelines state that advertisements on bus panels, taxis and aircraft are forbidden and posters bearing images of Apple are not allowed at bars, hotels, gyms or doctors' offices. iPhone ads are allowed only on well-lit billboards, shopping malls and bus shelters.
Apple demands the right to review every place where ads are to be displayed and reserves the right to ask a distributor to move its advertisement if it conflicts with Apple's own.
It bans the words "a", "the", "new" or "newest" from use before the word "iPhone", frowns on the exclamation mark and slaps a blanket ban on a list of "negative" words.
The forbidden list includes "second hand", "YouTube", and "Tim Cook [Apple's CEO]", "jailbreak", "stolen", "broken", "crushed" and "hacked".
A marketing executive from a distributor of Apple products, who declined to be named for the fear of offending a key supplier, said Apple representatives would scream strings of expletives if advertisements deviated even slightly from the media guidelines.
"Apple is very difficult to deal with and very particular. Media releases take days to clear and sometimes they have to be cleared by Tim Cook himself," said the executive. "They know they can get away with it because of who they are."
The executive said Apple had been easier to deal with this year as excitement around the brand had receded.
For advertisements that appear in print, Apple prefers only full-page ads in big metropolitan newspapers and magazines.
Apple demands TV commercials run nationally during mainstream programs, more than half of which must be in prime time.
The company also has rules on advertising in all digital media, including online video, online display, tablet, mobile and social media.
Apple makes it clear it does not want its distributors to advertise on YouTube, a site owned by its arch-rival Google, by banning YouTube in-stream ads. Google's Android is the largest competitor to Apple's iOS operating system.
The Android operating system accounts for 64.8 per cent of all smartphones sold in the world. Apple's iOS operating system accounts for 18.8 per cent, according to Gartner, a research consultancy.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all refused to comment on their relationships with Apple.