Nov 11

Ads: Apple’s unchallenged monopoly

Many observers credit Apple’s marketing for its astronomical success.

Few, however, credit Apple’s competitors for lending a hand.

It’s because the Android-makers keep churning out technology-centric ads that Apple continues to hold a monopoly on human-centric ads — which are often the most powerful of all.

The above commercial for the Samsung Galaxy IIS phone is just the latest example. It gets points for creativity. It’s fun to poke fun at Apple. But once the fun is over, its message is 100% technology — bigger screen, 4G speed — and 0% human benefit.

If Apple were to to adopt its competitors’ colder approach, a typical iPhone 4S ad would simply say “Now with triple-lens 8-megapixel camera and intelligent assistant.”

It’s not hard to understand how this advertising imbalance took shape — or why it will likely continue.

To do battle with iPhone, the Android-makers have to offer something better. So they engineer phones with measurable advantages — better cameras, bigger screens, faster processors, etc. But those advantages aren’t advantages unless they get advertised.

That’s why we often see futuristic ads with robots, lasers and lists of features, but little or no emotional context for those features.

Of course, there’s no reason why the Android-makers couldn’t create ads that show the human side of their technology advantages. They just don’t. Most likely because those who make the decisions (or the ads) are determined to do something different than Apple at all costs.

Even if that cost is giving Apple the gift of a monopoly.

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  • The only smartphone competitor spot that I’ve seen that approaches Apple is an old one from HTC, which I love: http://youtu.be/IzRagyRJb3o

    They’ve since morphed the messaging, while still trying to hand on to the “YOU” positioning. It’s not as memorable, in my opinion.

  • Bmcfadden

    In Samsung’s wildest dreams people would line up in the streets to buy their knock-off products.

    Note to Samsung: bitterness and jealousy doesn’t go over so well with consumers. It sure didn’t work for Motorola and its Xoom ads which tried to mock Apple consumers.

    How about coming up with something better than the iPhone? No amount of marketing your POS android device is going to change things.

  • jbelkin

    Absolutely right. It’s amazing the amount of money they waste trying to convince your their phone is from outer space or as fast the speed of lightning (O RLY?). Apple ads are actually amazing – Mac vs PC – two guys in a white background and a few props or the iphone. Here’s our phone . here’s how it works. you tap it. or now, with Siri, you talk to it … like this … the samsung ads make very sense. The three Apple guys DO NOT leave the line after looking at the “amazing” samsung phone so samsung is pretty much spending $50 million preaching to the choir or while they are knocking iphone users as superficial, their ad consists of three guys looming at the screen for 8 seconds … isn’t that the very definition of superficial? Or that while Apple has tens of millions og iphones this quarter, how many people actually line up? ANd of those lining up, how many are just ebay resellers so are they affected by this ad? So again, who is Samsung spending $50 million to advertise to?

  • Jason Parry

    I don’t think tech marketers are purposefully trying to ‘be different than’ apple. Tech marketers are too embroiled with the tech they are building to know what people will use it for. They churn out the next one with better specs and then advertise that they came out with better specs because they have blinders on.

    Its not they intentionally avoid the human element, its that they don’t know how to think that way.

  • Paul

    Actually, I thought the ad was an amalgam of Think Different, I’m a Mac/PC, 1984…all the classic apple ads, just using humor as the vehicle. Very different from the traditional (dreadful) droid ads and better thought out and more creative than the droll Xoom ad 1984 redux from last superbowl.

    Unfortunately for the manufacturer I doubt viewers remember what the ad was for, the best they’d come up with is “not an iphone” rather than the Samsung Galaxy S II.

    I don’t think android phones need to copy the human style to be effective. I think this was a good shot though again, I don’t know how truly effective it was/will be.

  • ken segall

    I’m not sure how you see some of those great Apple ads in this Samsung spot.

    But that aside, I am not suggesting that Android ads should copy Apple’s human style. No advertiser should ever copy another’s style. What I’m saying is that great ads find a way to strike an emotional chord with customers, to make some kind of human connection. There are a thousand ways to do this — but most Android ads continue to spout technology without putting it in human terms.

  • James in Tokyo

    That ad is really lame.
    Something better would be how that device or service can get you out of jam when you really need it.

    Last year I was in downtown Tokyo when the earthquake hit with my iphone 4 and an extra pocket mifi device.The only part of Softbank mobile network that worked for the next couple days was the internet part. No voice/sms/mms.

    So millions are trying to connect with people to say they are ok, stranded, hurt etc.
    What are your options?
    I ended up using Skype, Gmail and Viber apps to connect inside and outside Japan.

    Others went to the nearby Apple store to recharge devices,get out of the cold and use the wifi there.

    Thanks Apple for NOT leaving me SOL in the middle of Tokyo.

    A toast to more “reality” in smartphone ads.