Axis: Take Down This Deceptive Commercial

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 24, 2015

Axis' puzzling marketing campaign continues, reaching a new low.

Check out this commercial:

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Comments (40)

That is deceptive! Why do this?!

Weird, because the actual image you'd get from their cameras are so incredible, they'd surely convince people to buy. Axis, trust in your own products and film a spot using one of your own cameras.

They have made some all with their own cameras and unedited. For instance this 4K spot, "Leaving Malmö."

Planes in motion can be a tricky subject, not here though.

Youtube limits the video to 720p, so you are NOT seeing 4k, or anything close.. Any claims on details, etc. can not be verified through youtube. You would need to see the source video, ideally watermarked from an NVR to prove the video has not been edited/tampered with...

Axis has a history of marketing 720p, and even selling 1 megapixel cameras, as opposed to much of the industry that (at one point) standardized on 1.3 megapixels, and exceeded the resolution of 720p...

Oh well.

In my opinion, this is a useless marketing video, because it doesn't show 4k. Also, it is conveniently a cloudy day to avoid WDR issues...

FYI, the max shown to me for this video is 1080p, though YouTube certainly supports 4K streaming for many other videos.

Also, it is conveniently a cloudy day to avoid WDR issues..

You can tell it's a cloudy day outside? I can't even tell its outside.

Regardless, the whole video is challenging from a WDR perspective, strong backlighting with spotlights throughout, no?

It is deceptive but I like it. It is better to see beautiful and creative ads because anyway any ad is focused on advantages (i.e. deceptive).

Just for example the first commercial I found on youtube

Is it deceptive? Yes. Should it be an image with the tech spec? Hope that you do not think so.

If we think that cameras become commodity then we need to treat them the same.

"any ad is focused on advantages (i.e. deceptive)."

No, focusing on advantages is not 'deceptive'. For example, Axis 4K tend to be poor in low light, not showing any low light scenes or video does not make the commercial deceptive. Also, not showing the high price also does not make the commercial deceptive.

What makes something deceptive is showing a product as doing something specifically that it does not do. In this case, the commercial implies the Axis PTZ camera captures such video when it does not.

As for the Nike snow day commercial, what deceptive claims is Nike making about its own products? Axis can have commercial where a Martian and Dolph Lundgren wrestle to get an Axis camera. That would be fiction but not deceptive about Axis products.

As for the Nike snow day commercial, what deceptive claims is Nike making about its own products?

Actually none, though someone could claim that Nike is saying that their sportswear enables superhuman abilities of course.

But it's clearly intentional hyperbole and comdedic exaggeration.

Intent is key here, Nike did not intend for people to be fooled into thinking they had otherworldly strengths.

In the case of figure skating video, I'm not sure what they were thinking, and they certainly would fool less informed buyers into believing it.

In the case of the hockey rink it is even more realistic and believable as it show the imagers one by one being aggregated. Simulated imagers!

In both cases they are on thin ice. (last pun, I promise).

Let's not forget this other "Miracle on Ice"

This one also not shot on the advertised camera, but with this one you might not even know it, until you actually got one.

Rinky dink.

To quote a famous undisclosed member:

Promised:

Delivered:

John, with all respect - are you serious with "An experienced professional knows that the video is not from any surveillance PTZ"? Per my understanding, this is clear for any person why ever filmed something with camera or mobile, which is practically any person from modern country!

And the advert point is in the camera speed and dexterity, at the same level as skater has. So, they are clearly pitching their "differentiator", and you are mentioning it with "PTZ moving to mimic the skater".

The whole story let me remember about conversation with persons from A and G about IPVM tending to convert from modest favoritism to hostile criticism with some companies, at alphabetical order so far. The conclusion was that A is in danger and G have some time. Should I still threat this as a joke?

So, they are clearly pitching their "differentiator", and you are mentioning it with "PTZ moving to mimic the skater".

And in the hockey rink video above (for the multi-imager Q3709 camera), what is the allegory to the incrementally revealed triptych?

Is it showing three camcorders mimicing a multi-imager?

Do we not know what 1/3, 2/3 and 3/3 of a scene look like?

Ok - this is an another round of an old game of sketching rectangles with D1 / 1MP / FHD over 4K+ images. A bit unfair but common. And this occupies only small fraction of ad time - the rest is pitching specs (boring). So, will it work for you without, say, first 15 seconds?

As for the difference between expectation and reality (as in John's comment from 11:20pm) - professionals know that any claim about stitching correctness of pre-fabricated multi-imagers (without careful in-place calibration) is false. And their support on VMS side is still poor (forget about light / color correction on 3rd party VMS side). This is something you can only get with camera and VMS from the same hands.

...professionals know that any claim about stitching correctness of pre-fabricated multi-imagers (without careful in-place calibration) is false.

There are many buyers of Axis cameras who would not fall into your definition of professional. Do you think that most Axis customers have ever even installed a multi-imager before?

Moreover, there was no early indication that the imagers were not fully adjustable, Arecont for instance allows this. So in that case, by your own logic, the 'professional' would assume that they MUST be adjustable, in order to get that picture.

Finally, and this applies to the PTZ ad as well, image quality and capability are increasing at such a pace that yesterday's outrageous claims are today's reality.

Confronted with 4K and 30 FPS for the first time, how do we know what to expect? After all 2160p/30, is higher resolution and frame rate than most cinematic productions are produced with.

My point is that multi-imagers are not DIY equipment. They are a new class of devices, with their hi and low end. Pre-fabricated are low-end. Hi-end to be installed by manufacturers (or manufacturer-certified) only - and they are responsible to meet claims and expectations.

So, back to your question, first 15 seconds are marketing bullshit to capture an eye (so nobody should make any real assumption from it), and the rest is pure specs without clear mean for that particular device class - that is my opinion.

From technical point, any multi-imager that deliver independent streams (not stitching on it's own) need ultimately deep integration with VMS. So there is no step-by-step progress as with single-imagers resolution and frame-rate (not that game).

So, as with new device class there are no mature scales and expectations. Not an easy task to advertise this - and this bad ad is a good example.

The conclusion was that A is in danger and G have some time.

Sucks be Axxon. And if BRS Labs thought they had it bad before, wait till he gets to them. ;)

So, will it work for you without, say, first 15 seconds?

It worked for me fine with the first 15 seconds. It was the camera that disappointed.

Ok - this is an another round of an old game of sketching rectangles with D1 / 1MP / FHD over 4K+ images.

No, it's more than just showing the proportion of the imagers, it's showing where they seamlessly blend together. Not skewed at angles and without a common exposure setting like seen in the still pic above.

And unlike the figure skater example, people might believe that it was really the camera, (unless they read the fine print). Why not? God knows they could have gotten a lot closer by making the imagers adjustable and having a global exposure setting.

This is typical behavior when marketing gets ahead of engineering. And I think it's worth pointing out even if there are undeniably worse examples.

I see no big differences between our opinions:

- we both agree that with skater things are just a clear hyperbole (even for non-professional)

- we both agree that with hockey it may create a false expectation (at least for non-professional)

And I am an engineer - and indifferent co compare who is better or worse in advertising. For me it is just a matter of clear statement, and how it fits to mainstream. It seems you have another opinion here - and that's also good :)

An experienced professional knows that the video is not from any surveillance PTZ, 4K or otherwise;

It's certainly no Axis PTZ. On the other hand, had Panasonic made this video instead, they might have fooled a pro or two by using their broadcast/surveillance hybrid 4K PTZ:

Broadcast features include

  • Low bounce panning
  • Image stabilization
  • Genlock
  • Production standard 3G-SDI output

Make no mistake though this camera has plenty of surveillance camera features as well including:

  • IP
  • PoE
  • H.264
  • Auto Day/Night
  • Edge Recording

The point being that with technology advancements and new products appearing all the time, it's not so obvious what could be real or not. Therefore the disclaimer is necessary.

You are citing claim that is not mine :) OK, do you keep in mind picture with PTZ camera mounted on filming carriage? Camera from the ad is definitely wall-mount, and movie is definitely filmed from carriage (not from wall, not from hand). And this is clear for any person who ever filmed something himself.

Sorry, meant as a reply to John. :)

no problem, and thanks for the info about this Panasonic cam :)

Axis misrepresents the relative pixel count of 1080p to 4K

Here is the what Axis shows:

And here is the 1080p Axis area copied to show that Axis makes it too small:

Typical IPVM, negativity, sensationalist ideas and doomsday attitude

There is nothing wrong with this advert, they do not profess that the footage is from the camera itself, its marketing, its a way of showing off their features and product. To a layman not in the security industry this is just a nice advert, its only cause some take things so seriously that they think is deceptive. Its like advertising a car by showing horses riding along the beach with the car... If Axis made the car John would jump up and down saying "Axis didnt breed those horses, Axis didn't train them OMG Deceptive marketing"

IPVM, lighten up, admit that good marketing is about emotions and experience not about having all the technical ducks lined up.. If it was a spec sheet.. fair call but its not, its a promotional video. Stop trying to drive hits to your site by creating issues where there are not any, its poor journalism to do so.

There is nothing wrong with this advert...

Do you feel it shouldn't even have a disclaimer?

It doesnt need to.. the world is buyer beware, its not claiming anything its just making an association. If a Ferrari's advert showed old guys with supermodel girlfriends and I assumed that if I bought a Ferrari I'd be guaranteed to get supermodels wanting to date me, its not going to happen. Should Ferrari have a disclaimer at the end of their advert saying "Buying Ferrari may not mean you will get supermodel girlfriends or not drive like and old grandpa"? Ferrari is not claiming to guarantee supermodels to me, and neither is Axis claiming anything apart from an association between a quick moving/spinning figure skater and how quick their PTZ moves.. Its fine, its advertising its not so much about details, its about sparking interest so people THEN look at the details

"It doesnt need to.. the world is buyer beware"

Cameron, you are simply factually wrong here.

In the US, we have the FTC's Truth in Advertising regulations. In Australia, you have the ACCC's false of misleading claims regulations.

Take a look at them and please provide your feedback.

But the legislation is irrelevant - they are not making any perceived or non-factual claim in the video itself, so its not misleading. The only claims they are making are those in the text part of the video which are pretty much direct from the spec sheet or features page or obvious facts. If your issue that their features are inaccurate or the video is inaccurate?

I just think you are knitpicking to drive hits to your website. Its mostly unsubstantiated and I really shouldn't be commenting more as it will just encourage you to create issues where there are none in future.

Cameron,

First thank you for implicitly acknowledging your original position is wrong (i.e., "the world is buyer beware). The world is not buyer beware, certainly not the countries we live in.

As for this commercial being misleading, I quote your own countries' regulation here:

"It makes no difference whether the business intended to mislead you or not. If the overall impression left by a business’s advertisement, promotion, quotation, statement or other representation creates a misleading impression in your mind—such as to the price, value or the quality of any goods and services—then the behaviour is likely to breach the law.

There is one exception to this rule. Sometimes businesses may use wildly exaggerated or vague claims about a product or service that no one could possibly treat seriously or find misleading. For example, a restaurant claims they have the ‘best steaks on earth’. These types of claims are known as ‘puffery’ and are not considered misleading."

My position is that this does create a misleading impression as many (but not all) reasonable people will believe the video shown in the commercial is from the camera itself. And the claim is not so 'exaggerated or vague" that no one could possibly treat seriously.

Your welcome to disagree but ad hominem attacks ("drive hits to your website") shows the lack of substance of your argument. And for the record, IPVM has a long history of criticizing vendors for misrepresentation going back years, e.g., The Axis Corruption Cruise Returns.

John,

If you want to go into deep details, let imagine you bring them to the court.

They will just point you to 0:25 where it is clearly seen that camera is wall-mount. And the skater is filmed from the moving point. So - no chance to expect that the video been filmed from this camera.

Please stop looking for inexistent claims in this video and focus on how they present true claims:

- 1:01 - how quick they are (and well compared to skater)

- 1:07 - how they can tilt (also well fit)

- 1:14 - how they can clean itself (and the impression that these raindrops are melted ice is a nice hyperbole but just a matter of art, not fact)

- 1:23 - how camera is looking like xmas ball (with your logic, there are also some claims here?)

PS: the ad mentioned in discussion is another case - but let discuss it separately

Does the 'capture every movement' apply to those of the skater or those of the camera then?

good point! per my understanding, their hyperbole (comparing camera with skater) is not coherent here (and the same with comparing FHD/4K), as here they are comparing image with image.

...the claim is not so 'exaggerated or vague" that no one could possibly treat seriously.

That is just your (well considered) opinion, though.

Cameron may feel that no one would seriously consider that an Axis PTZ could ever produce anything even close to that quality of footage. Which is his right.

Oh no, quite the opposite - I've used Axis CCTV cameras for broadcast quality recordings before.. I am sure it can do close to if not better than the footage in the video, thats not my issue at all.

I am sure it can do close to if not better than the footage in the video.

If that's the case then why wouldn't you think they had used one or more of their 4K PTZ's to create the footage?

Update: here are people on LinkedIn who mistakenly believe the commercial shows Axis camera footage.

Whether or not you can analyze the commercial and determine that the video is not from the Axis camera, this underscores that many people out there are being confused and misled about what Axis is showing.

I doubt if anyone would believe that a 12MP fisheye could pick up insects fighting, but you never know.

What kind of room is that anyway? White floor. Windoors. Those ants are pretty big.

UPDATE: After publication of a follow up post - Avigilon Trumps Axis' Deceptive Ad With A Real One,, Axis removed the commercial and replaced it with one that has a disclosure at the end of the video:

It is good that Axis has done so finally, but disappointing it took them nearly two months, finally motivated by a comparison to a competitor.

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