Samsung Advertising Is Missing The Point

So Samsung posted a new ad for their Galaxy S3 - its essentially a refreshed version of their Galaxy S2 ad. A few of the Samsung fanboys I work with thought it was brilliantly funny. I was disappointed; it reminded me of a campaign ad for a politician, focusing more on disparaging the opponent than demonstrating the merits of the self.

This isn’t a Product Ad

Sure there’s a product in the ad, but the focus of this ad starts and ends with the culture of smartphones - a culture now teeming with Fanboy Culture, possibly more than game consoles.

Samsung is openly mocking that culture, and while it might be a specific company’s culture, those are potential customers. Or perhaps its more likely that Samsung is foregoing the effort to lure away Apple customers, and instead are aiming for the undecided buyer.

This is a Culture Ad

There’s no doubt that there’s a really intense customer culture supporting Apple but its not some random anomaly; it exists because Apple promotes it. Consider the popular Mac vs. PC ads that poked fun at the PC stereotype. Both Apple and Samsung are guilty of playing on the customer culture stereotypes, but the execution couldn’t be more different.

The Mac ads are done in the fashion of a comedy skit or a parody; two actors personifying the products and having a speculative conversation. Its light-hearted and feels like a stand-up duo character sketch. The act of personifying the product keeps the main focus on the product; actual people and culture are the indirect subjects of the parody and viewers are much more accepting of this.

The Samsung ads are done almost to the opposite effect; they portray the actual customer culture stereotypes directly, painting their competitors customers as ridiculous, naive, dated, etc. while actually avoiding creating a customer identity of their own. In doing so, their product becomes secondary to the main focus of the ad. This is about the customer, not the product, and that makes it personal.

Focus On Product And People Will Come

Even despite the recent findings in the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, many still come to the defense of Samsung and their efforts to innovate. Personally I don’t think these latest ads from Samsung would do much to persuade people that they aren’t ripping off Apple’s moves.

Was any advertising campaign in Apple’s history better than the product announcement for the first Mac? The first iPod? The first iPhone? Apple’s massive success and recognition for innovation was due to the great products behind those ads, and the continuing and burning desire to create things that people love.

If Samsung wants to “take inspiration” from anything Apple does, it should be that.