You’ve probably seen them by now – the Samsung Galaxy commercials where the owners of Samsung’s new smartphone flirt with Apple fanboys(and girls) waiting outside the Apple store to purchase the next version of the iPhone. (Video below)
I laughed, heartily for that matter, when I saw this ad.
Despite finding the ad amusing and getting a laugh in the process, I had to ask myself if I could objectively consider the effectiveness of the spot, who it was trying to reach, and what it was really trying to say. It is also interesting to note that in no point does the ad mention Apple by name.
Going against a company like Apple even for a giant like Samsung is no small undertaking. There is a certain cultish quality to Apple users. Their attitudes and allegiance often surpass use of “fanboy” terminology. So, there are going to be those, ironically exactly like those depicted waiting in line in the ad, who will probably never digress from the Apple path. However, the existence of the extremists is proof that there is a spectrum of opinions about Apple products. Therein lies the Samsung strategy; appealing to those who have considered purchasing the iPhone but have not yet made the commitment. The question though is are these ads going to sway people’s opinions either way? Or more likely have most people already made up their mind? And, the spot while a clever anecdote will only serve to reinforce their station on whichever side of this debate they reside.
I’ve been monitoring some of the comments about the ad from both sides of the spectrum and the middle. When you get out to the far end of the android vs iOS or Apple versus other device arguments people get pretty emotional. What you end up with is a cyber mob of people finding ways to voice and reassure their disdain for the other side and basically whooping each other into a frenzy. They end up just talking amongst themselves and their opinions largely become irrelevant.
Some might call their strategy ineffective because it doesn’t really emphasize many of the true merits of the phone it just makes fun of Apple users. But in my opinion ads that focus too much on the technical concerns lose the viewer in the process. Ads that tell stories and make the viewer question who they are as a person and how they relate to a product on an emotional level are much more effective. Ever wonder why politicians who make cohesive arguments but are more comfortable pointing to a graph than crafting a tale and connecting often find it difficult to come up with the votes come election time?
Everyone from your grandmother who doesn’t use “the email” to your colleagues at work are going to have an opinion about this ad. The interesting takeaway I believe is that the vast majority of those opinions do not matter. There is a small segment of the population from which these ads are going to bear fruit for Samsung and with that demographic I believe they are successful. And they also get some points for entertaining everyone else in the process.