Oracle Pulls Ads After National Advertising Group Says It Made False Claims Against IBM

Oracle is stopping a marketing campaign attacking IBM in wake of a national advertising board‘s recomendation that the company made false claims when comparing its Exadata technology to competing IBM products.

It’s the second time in four months the National Advertising Division (NAD)  has taken action against Oracle for making false claims when comparing its Exadata products to IBM’s technology. The NAD is an advertising industry group that falls under the umbrella of the Better Business Bureau.

The NAD recommended that Oracle stop making  comparative claims about its Exadata database technology, following  a challenge made by IBM. The NAD said the Oracle “messaging” could not be substantiated.

In question is an ad that appeared as a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal that included the following:
•    “Exadata 20x Faster … Replaces IBM Again”
•    “Giant European Retailer Moves Databases from IBM Power to Exadata … Runs 20 Times Faster”

Oracle argued it was using one specific case study, not comparing Exadata to the overall IBM Power System technology.  Oracle is appealing this ruling and also the one in April to the National Advertising Review Board. In a statement, Oracle said it was “disappointed with the NAD’s decision in this matter, which it believes is unduly broad and will severely limit the ability to run truthful comparative advertising, not only for Oracle but for others in the commercial hardware and software industry.”

Okay. Yes, this is Oracle jockeying to some extent in its fight against IBM in the database market. It is part of the game. But Oracle has such a lousy reputation. It uses the language to make claims that are simply not true. I guess that’s the extent of it. When listening to what Oracle has to say, you always need to do a language check. Yes means no. Cloud means on-premise.  
You get my point.

NAD made the point that Oracle went over line. The company’s defense was not enough:

NAD further determined that the disclosure provided on the advertiser’s website was not sufficient to limit the broad message conveyed by the “20x Faster” claim. More importantly, NAD noted that even if Oracle’s website disclosure was acceptable – and had appeared clearly and conspicuously in the challenged advertisement – it would still be insufficient because an advertiser cannot use a disclosure to cure an otherwise false claim.

Competitors like to use the language loosely when ribbing their competitors. For Oracle, it goes well beyond that. They play a game that even an industry advertising organization says goes too far.