Sep 12

Where Samsung doesn’t copy Apple

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While Samsung has been accused of copying Apple technology, no one will ever accuse it of copying Apple advertising.

Unfortunately, its ads remain distinctly Samsung.

No, I am not a fan of Samsung advertising in general. This isn’t because of the company’s products, it’s more of a tone and creative quality issue. Samsung ads just feel cheap to me. They feel like the ideas that inevitably show up in internal agency meetings, but are quickly scrapped in favor of something smarter.

This new ad lives up to my low expectations.

First, it’s visually unappealing. I  like to believe that a company capable of creating a smartphone can hobble together a decent-looking ad.

The headline “It doesn’t take a genius” carries on in the tradition of Samsung TV commercials mocking those who line up for a new iPhone at the Apple Store. You find yourself wishing it was more clever than it is.

But even as it fails in certain creative measures, this ad does an amazingly good job of exposing the philosophical differences between Samsung and Apple.

For starters, it assumes that comparing technical specs is the best way to choose a phone. If the Galaxy’s list is longer, surely it must be superior. This comparison completely bypasses the notion that the user experience plays any role in customer satisfaction.

Never mind that the Galaxy’s list contains a number of items that will be meaningless to ordinary readers, or that the iPhone’s list of attractive features is unfairly minimized.

The clearest communication of this ad may be that “bigger is better.”

My iPhone has always felt pretty natural in my pocket. I’ve never really thought of its size as a selling point or a handicap. However, this ad is enough to shock me to my senses. With iPhone’s size as my point of reference, I cannot fathom how I’d carry that honkin’ Galaxy thing in my pocket.

It’s enough to make me appreciate anew Apple’s decision to add only height to the new iPhone 5, and not width.

And if you think the Galaxy S III is big, wait till you see what’s coming. An article in The Korea Times this morning says that the new Galaxy S4 phone due in February will have an even larger screen. Have your tailor on standby to adjust those pockets accordingly.

Whatever similarities may exist between certain Apple and Samsung devices, the philosophical differences between the two companies is becoming far more distinct. And that’s something that Samsung seems eager to advertise.

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  • Wayne

    Have you noticed how the Samsung being heavier is listed as an advantage?

  • qka

    They’re still living in the “speeds & feeds” PC era.

  • Ken, you’re so right about the honking size of the Samsung Galaxy S III. A friend of mine owns one, and it barely fits in ANY pocket. Worst of all, though, is that when you hold it in your hand, your thumb can’t even reach all the way across it horizontally to type one-handed. You are REQUIRED to use 2 hands to use & cradle the device. It’s the most uncomfortable gadget in the history of gadgets.

  • WFA67

    It is remarkable to me how a company with a huge advertising budget will hire people who simply don’t ‘get’ what engages an audience. The Samsung ad you cite is one example. Also, I am particularly struck by how clueless Microsoft’s advertising is. Like a kid on a playground trying real hard to be cool. The new Microsoft logo, for instance, hardly looks new. And the color scheme in that patch of boring squares is ghastly.

    Technology is available to loads of people. But it seems there are only a handful who have the sensibility and discipline to utllize it elegantly. Perhaps Apple has cornered the market on those individuals.

  • BLB

    I was wondering, if Samsung believes there screen is so much better, why do they show the SIII’s screen but not the iPhone 5’s? I mean it’s “smaller”, isn’t it?

  • bthompsonmt

    One commercial that I’ve enjoyed recently is the new Nissan Altima letting its owner know when it has enough air in the tire by quickly honking its horn. Several times throughout the commercial a quick horn can be heard in various settings letting the owner know when he’s gone far enough. It is a very tounge-in-cheek method of advertising of showing a very innovative technology. Why can’t smartphone companies show the merits of their accomplishments and proving why they should be the “phone you should buy” rather than poke a stick at the leader.

  • immovableobject

    In addition short changing its feature list, the iPhone is pictured with its screen dark in order to make it appear less attractive.

  • nuthinking

    “contains a number of items that will be meaningless to ordinary readers…”

    My favorite is “Shake To Update”! Not sure 100% what it is.
    But at least you have to appreciate that Samsung didn’t put TMs after all of them! :)

  • Relentlessfocus

    Unfortunately Samsung are copying Apple’s tv ad style. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMvyYkA79h8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • synthmeister

    It doesn’t take a genius, just a convicted, corporate counterfeiter.

  • Tom

    Apple sits at the intersection of technology and Liberal arts. Samsung is just an electronics company. The fact that Apple uses a very beautiful galaxy as their public Mac background (humanity’s mother ship) and they designed the iPhone 5 to fit in your hand still and they revolutionized the cellular phone with a touchscreen that can use 10 fingers instead of a stylus says it all, not to mention the names they use for their Mac OS and connectors, its all natural and insanely simple. Apple kicks ass. That’s the way I see it.

    And Samsung didn’t create that phone, they copied it, which is why it’s better than their crappy ad/s.

  • Samsung has shown poor taste in their ads, while Apple has shown how petty it is by suing about shapes. Samsung did copy a lot from Apple, just like how Apple copied a lot from Xerox, HP, etc. As it stands, I’m choosing Nokia.

  • ksegall

    If you think Apple’s lawsuit vs. Samsung was simply about “shapes,” you’re either buying into the spin or misunderstanding the lawsuit. At issue were four design patents and three technology patents. The latter included the “bounce-back” effect when you scroll to the end of a list, double-tap to enlarge, and the ability to distinguish between one-finger scrolling and two-finger gestures. These are all elements that distinguished iPhone from the phones that came before — not exactly “petty.”

  • Did u know that

    Of course it is an advantage. Every single iPhone-user I have talked to has pointed out that ‘weight = quality’ when they saw that the 4S was heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3.

    All of a sudden though those same people now think that weight = bad. Typical Apple fanboys – whatever Apple/iPhone has (or does not have!) currently is better than anything else.

    Jokes aside though; it is heavier but also has a noticeably bigger screen and battery. Everyone understands that part.

  • Did u know that

    I always wonder what those one-handed phone users use their other hand for all the time. I have used both hands on all my phones since the late 90’s – it’s just way faster to do things like typing instead of fumbling about with a thumb.

  • lol your joking about weight being an advantage right?

  • Jarperaftingsong

    I don’t recall Apple fans claiming weight to be an actual spec advantage. I remember Apple fans comparing weight to quality. Some phones feel very cheaply made with plastic, and very light. Unsubstantial. The difference is Apple managed to shed the weight while IMPROVING the quality, with even higher quality metal finish and glass. It doesn’t feel unsubstantial, despite being lighter.

  • They didn’t even use a nice gradient.

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