Apple and Samsung have been appearing in the news a lot recently. One is said to be falling from grace, while the other is being anointed as the next big thing. There are a million and one articles on the Internet explaining which company has the better smartphone (and brighter future). Bloggers have used any combination of stock price, market share, or product features to fortify their argument. While all those factors can be interpreted differently depending on who you read, I wish there was one thing everyone could agree on, that Apple and Samsung both have awful commercials. Usually, when two companies have as intense a product battle as these two electronics makers, the consumer benefits. Higher competition nurtures innovation, and it does not only apply to products. The advertising strategies must constantly change and improve too. We can see this currently going on with auto insurance commercials. Ever since Geico started pouring massive amounts of money into their advertising budget and introducing character after character, other companies have had to follow suit to stay relevant in our minds. All of these companies feed off each other and copy themes until they are beaten dead, and then they improve things slightly to gain back our attention. Despite the fact that many of these car insurance ads annoy us, ultimately, we are benefiting by the additional hours a creative department puts in to create captivating commercials. WIth Apple and Samsung ads, I see ideas moving in opposite directions. Apple is confident and proper, Samsung makes insults. Samsung shows everyday, real life, Apple has an omniscient voice in a white room. Neither seems to adapt their strategy based off how people receive that of their competitors. For such sophisticated products, I expect smarter advertisements. Maybe in today’s age of more informed consumers, commercials don’t need to educate they just need to entertain, but personally I think that these two smartphone makers are doing neither with their current ad campaigns.
Let’s take a look back at the all the major commercials each company has bombarded our televisions with and find what they are doing wrong and what they could do to make people less likely to hit the fast-forward button on their DVR. This recap and review will touch on every major commercial, dating back to Thanksgiving 2011. That’s when Samsung dropped the Oh Snap! Heard ’round the World ad (below) and threw their hat in the ring for smartphone supremacy.
*Full Disclosure: I have an iPhone. I generally choose Apple products for two reasons, they’re simple and they last.
First up, the pompous new kid in town, Samsung.
It was refreshing to see a company take on Apple, however I still didn’t take Samsung seriously after viewing this commercial. I personally did not see what they were going for here. Are they trying to say they don’t want hipsters for customers and are strictly going for consumers that have yet to buy an iPhone? Because that’s a large demographic to give up on selling to. Or are they saying, “Come to Samsung, we don’t have a line!” After the second time I watched it I was already sick of it, and I thought everyone shared my feelings. Apparently not. It seems there is a lot of people who don’t appreciate Apple’s dominance of the phone market, and were happy to see it mocked. I thought these rebels gave up their resistance efforts after the slide-out keyboard on their Droid broke a couple of years prior. All in all, good job Samsung just don’t get too cocky now.
After coming out with a bang, Samsung stayed quiet on the commercial front and let its Galaxy S2 do the talking and got to work on the S3, along with a new batch of suck-it Apple ads. The most notable commercial I can think of from this period was the one for the Samsung Note, that re-introduced the stylus. So wait, Samsung went after hipsters–a group notorious for their insistence on bringing back fads from the ’90s, and then told America to start using the plastic pen that came with a Palm Pilot?
The iPhone Waiting Line
Samsung’s next biggest commercial came just in time to squash all the excitement of iPhone 5 arrival. This one takes place right where their last one left off: On a long line with a bunch of bearded white men, while the enlightened few stroll by using their superior phone. Instead of an Asian guy showing off his Galaxy, they went with a black guy this time–Is Samsung giving up the white vote?
I absolutely hate this commercial. Its arrogant and unbearably long! In this instant gratification culture, a minute and a half long commercial is an eternity. This commercial sure is loaded. Where as the last one spent most of the time knocking the iPhone fans, this also made sure to stress the Galaxy S3′s most important feature, tap-to-share. For a second you almost ask yourself, how did I send things to friends before this? Samsung even saved some time for a zinger. In a Sixth Sense-caliber twist, it turns out that one of the supposed hipsters wasn’t actually waiting on line but really saving a spot for his parents. Parents! Get it? They’re old and out of touch, like Apple!
The Work Trip [Link]
In Samsung’s quest to overthrow Apple they decided to go with the funny innuendo instead of their opponents confident, authoritative style. In their next shorter– and therefore more tolerable–ad, a man is seen getting in a cab en route to a business destination (White males with beards are Samsung costumers now too apparently). His two cute children have made him a farewell video and transferred it to his phone with the newest tap-to-share feature. This is where the ad would end if Apple made it (albeit there would be a white backdrop). But Samsung is the cool uncle, so forget kids, people need to be reminded that video cameras may also be used to capture nudity. Well his wife must have made him a doozy because she commands him “You probably shouldn’t watch that on the plane.” She would be devastated if some random passengers saw her in such a compromising position. However, the thought of her kids stumbling upon a traumatizing display of their mother (because you know, it was stored on the same device as their vid) doesn’t seem to cross her mind. This commercial provides a cheap laugh, nothing more. As a consumer, I’m really not to intrigued by a phone’s ability transfer data to other models through touching battery cases like some Avatar-esque acceptance ritual. What else does you phone do, Samsung, that makes it the next big thing? Other than the fact that it’s literally big.
Santa Clause Work Trip [Link]
Holiday editions of things are always enjoyable, Right? Appealing to a younger demographic with suggestive ads is one thing, but can we leave Santa out of it. Someone in the Samsung creative department must really be a fan of amateur porn. Who buys cellphones around the holidays? Parents. So let’s try to make an ad that doesn’t put terrifying thoughts in a father’s head about what his 17 year-old daughter might use the S3 for.
Lebron James is a Samsung Guy. Who Knew? [Link]
This ad spot was definitely the best. It had that home-style feel and people always love when athletes are humanized. Here’s the recurring problem though, it’s too long! It’s a phone, not an awareness campaign for hunger in Africa. If Samsung was to air one of these spots during this years Super Bowl, it would cost them $12 million per!
Samsung shouldn’t overstep their bounds, they can say they make a better phone but their business model has been historically based off innovating from existing technology. So as much as you may hate Apple, you need them. Basically, don’t write a check, your R&D department can’t cash.There are legitimate concerns about Apple future and besides the plunging stock price, I think Samsung’s hard-hitting ads definitely played a role in taking away some market share. If they want sustained success though, there ads have to show a solid dedication to greatness. When you take away the sex jokes, and the celebrity guest stars, is whats left a product people can trust?
Remember when a winning ad was as simple as a dancing silhouette…
The Introduction of Siri/The Road Trip [Link]
If you liked Wall-e, you’ll be moderately amused by this friendly digital companion. I took an exception to how Samsung continually harped on one single feature so Apple cannot be spared either. Siri sounds pretty groundbreaking but it is still in a very limited stage. Right now, it’s more of a gimmick than anything. But if Apple created a whole new model (4S) driven by Siri, I shouldn’t be surprised their line of commercials did the same.
Zooey Deschanel and Samuel Jackson w/ Siri
In case you didn’t realize, there’s a torrid love affair between Apple and Hollywood. Apples other big seller, the MacBook doesn’t even need commercials thanks to all the product placement. Like most things Zooey Deschanel stars in, this commercial annoys me. Sam Jackson’s date night is more enjoyable, although I cannot picture him preparing his own meals. It’d be more realistic if he yelled “I need to get this mother fucking gazbacho! In this mother fucking ice!”
Santa Clause w/ Siri [Link]
Much more wholesome than Samsung’s holiday commercial. It’s a little cheesy, can we see practical uses of this voice command feature….
John Malkovich w/ Siri [Link]
Martin Scorsese w/ Siri [Link]
We get it!
Man Apple is riding Siri like ESPN rode Tebow. The more Apple pushes it, the more let down customers are going to feel when thy realize Siri is a glorified speech-to-text search bar.
Despite popular belief, people don’t care about a cellphone camera’s higher functions. It’s basically only needed for pictures of food, group shots at a bar, and the occasional funny road sign. Real photographers, get real cameras. That’s why I don’t know why apple and Samsung spend so much time pushing gimmick features. At least it’s short (you can tell I appreciate brevity). Kids always win the hearts of audiences, so while most may agree this is a good commercial I think this panoramic feature would be best left as an App. Then u could save some money on ad production and advertise it on a Words with Friends pop-up.
Yes a commercial about headphones.
This is the point when I started thinking Apple was intentionally trying not to recognize Samsung as a legitimate competitor. Why change your advertising style when you’ve been the top dog for so long. It makes sense but you might actually need to start convincing people your entire phone is better not just taking that for a given, and assigning one commercial per feature.
The first thought I had when viewing this commercial was, wait don’t all phones have a silent button? (a close second thought was, whatever happened to Venus?) If I didn’t already own an iPhone 5, I don’t think these ads would persuade me. The features being pushed are so…ordinary. It reminds me of grade school when they’d show videos trying to jazz up bus safety. It’s hard to picture that this is actually someone’s dream. It starts in a room with just you and the Williams’ sisters– Okay I think we’ve had this one after a long day in the gym and a little too much Gatorade. Then you are beating them in Ping Pong… This is as far your imagination takes you? Maybe you need watch more videos with the slut from the Samsung commercial…
Get in the game Apple! You are taking Samsung as seriously as Obama took Romney in the first debate.Just because your advertising style has worked for years doesn’t mean it’s not time for a change. Try taking jabs at competitors if you think your phone is superior. Your suing Samsung right? Why don’t you tell the good people at home why you’re doing that. Apple’s pacifism is forcing fanboys to make their own ads fighting Samsung back. I also think Siri needs some down time, don’t talk about it until it truly does something revolutionary.
I’m interested to see how each company will approach 2013 with their ads. Will Apple go on the offensive and start taking shots at Samsung in the commercials? Will Samsung create another new product worthy of the tag “The next big thing”? Maybe both, maybe neither and instead, both companies will adopt a new ironic mascot that’s always doing something wonderfully random. I hear people are not sick of that at all…
P.S. I wish Microsoft became a legitimate contender in the smartphone war, because I would love to tear more ads like this apart.