Huawei shows us why we shouldn’t expect truth in advertising.
Huawei still hasn’t made it big in the United States, but it’s a giant in the worldwide market. Over the weekend, the Chinese electronics manufacturer released a new ad for its Nova 3 device in Egypt. It’s a typical sun-and-fun commercial with a couple living their best life and documenting it in selfies. Each time they take a pic together, the quality of the image changes and we see a brief still.
Shortly after the ad went live, a Reddit sleuth noticed that everything in the commercial is not what it seems. The actress that’s featured posing in various whimsical scenarios, Sarah Elshamy, posted some behind the scenes images from the ad shoot on her Instagram and two of the images very clearly show her co-star putting his hand into the selfie position beside a DSLR (or DSLR-like camera) to take a photo that’s presented as a product of the Nova 3's powerful beauty AI feature.
While the ad doesn’t explicitly proclaim the photo samples as having been shot on the Nova 3, the appearance of crosshairs and “AI” text on the image makes the implication strong. Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and again that tech demos are not to be trusted in the slightest. Campaigns like Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” may give the impression that we’ve entered a new era in which slick promos can be made with the device that’s being sold, but even those examples use external equipment to get the finest possible shot.
We’ve reached out to Huawei to ask for comment on the apparent deception in its ad and to ask if this is its standard practice but didn’t receive an immediate reply. As Android Police points out, the company should already have a statement ready to go because it’s been caught before when it tried to pass off photos shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III as images captured by its P9 smartphone. We’ve also seen similar shenanigans from Samsung and Nokia in the past.
It’s not a great time for Huawei to get caught using deceptive practices, no matter how minor the infraction. It narrowly avoided being the subject of a total trade ban with the U.S. due to national security concerns. Earlier this month, Congress ultimately decided to only ban Huawei and ZTE from doing business with the US government or its contractors.