Last week, a story spread through the Applesphere that Apple’s new brand commercial, Our Signature, is a flop.
This, according to Ace Metrix, which is in the business of researching such things for its clients. (See Bloomberg Businessweek story here).
On the heels of this story came another, in which it was revealed that Ace Metrix has on its client roster a company called … Samsung.
Naturally, that revelation sparked some good conspiracy theories. Like this one: Maybe Ace Metrix is saying that the ad is bad because in fact it’s really good. But since Samsung is pulling the strings, they’re saying it’s bad so Apple might believe the numbers and take it off the air. Score another point for Samsung.
Hold on there, fellas.
I like conspiracy theories as much as the next guy, and Samsung’s evil tentacles may indeed stretch into dark places we can’t see, but … c’mon.
There’s not much of a story here.
Companies like Samsung go heavy on research. They believe that these “learnings” enable them to do more of the stuff that gets good ratings, and less of the stuff that gets bad ratings. It also allows them to evaluate their ads against the performance of their competitors’ ads, and rationalize to management the big bucks they’re spending on marketing.
Further, it is no surprise at all that Samsung’s recent ads would score more points than Apple’s in this type of research.
Apple’s Signature ad is quiet and thoughtful, waxing philosophically about the company’s beliefs. Samsung’s ads tend to employ humor, tout never-seen-before smartphone features and appear on TV’s highest-profile shows.
I’m not judging the worth of one ad over another, because there are many things to consider beyond like/don’t-like types of data. I’m saying I’d be extremely surprised if a quiet ad beat out the more in-your-face humorous ads.
There are certain things you expect from research, and not all of them are good. This is one reason why Steve Jobs had an allergic reaction to consumer research. If Apple ran its business strictly by the numbers, its products and its advertising would look very different.
The only thing I find odd about this caper is that Ace Metrix saw fit to release its findings publicly. If they did this research on behalf of its client Samsung, one would expect them to simply deliver that information to its client and collect a fee. If it is to be released publicly, why would Samsung pay them for it?
This is all sheer conjecture, but it’s easy to imagine that Samsung saw the opportunity to fuel the anti-Apple flames with this research and thus authorized Ace Metrix to release it. Good publicity for Ace Metrix and good buzz for Samsung.
But if that’s true, we might not want to blame the data — only those who are manipulating it.