Its been recently discovered that a commercial in Egypt for the new Huawei Nova 3i utilized a professional DSLR camera when showing viewers the Nova 3i’s selfie camera “capabilities” – this isn’t a new practice to Huawei, who has been caught using such deceptive marketing tactics in the past, but what’s funny about this particular incident is how Huawei was caught.
The actress in the commercial, Sarah Elshamy, posted a couple “behind the scenes” photos during shooting for the commercial, and observant Twitter users noticed that there is so very clearly a photographer using a DSLR camera during a scene in the commercial where a couple is taking selfies, supposedly with the Huawei Nova 3i.
The commercial revolved around how great the Huawei Nova 3i’s camera is, with Huawei’s AI and camera tech supposedly making it so that the woman doesn’t even need to wear makeup – Huawei’s camera filters are just that awesome!
And then we see the above photo on Sarah Elshamy’s Twitter account, which shows the man in the commercial not only isn’t taking a selfie, he’s not even holding a phone at all.
Huawei issued a generic company statement to tech website Pocketnow, defending their practice:
“The product images and the contents are provided for reference only. Product characteristics and actual specifications may vary (including but not limited to appearance, color, size), as well as actual presentation contents (including but not limited to backgrounds, user interface, and controls).”
In a nutshell, they’re basically saying “We never claimed the photos in the commercial were taken using our phone!” – but…the commercial revolves entirely around the phone’s camera, so it’s pretty much implied, right?
What’s even worse is that this isn’t the first time Huawei has been called out for this marketing deception (but this is the first time they’ve been caught so blatantly in the act), and they aren’t the only phone company who does it.
Huawei was caught doing the same thing with their Huawei P9, though that time, it was EXIF data that told the truth. Huawei had published a photo on their Google+ page supposedly showing the technical superiority of the Huawei P9’s camera – people viewed the EXIF data and it was revealed to have been taken with a $2,600 Canon EOS 5D Mark III using a $1,900 EF70-200mm f/28L IS II USM lens.
Huawei’s response back then when caught?
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
Again, “we never claimed the photo was taken with our camera!” – its pretty much become their first response at this point. Huawei then followed their response up later with:
“It has recently been highlighted that an image posted to our social channels was not shot on the Huawei P9. 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.”
The really sad thing here is that as we said earlier, Huawei isn’t the only company doing this kind of misleading advertising – Samsung was caught for it in the past as well.
Samsung was caught using two stock photos from Getty, where they simply put filters on the images and released them with the caption “The front camera #GalaxyA8 has dynamic focus and highlights in the photo what matters most”.