By: Madeline Rose
The next big thing is already here, or so Samsung would like us to believe. Their latest ad campaign promoting the Galaxy S3 playfully parallels that of last year’s Galaxy S2 release, featuring the same line of avid fans outside the Apple store anxiously awaiting the release of the newest iPhone 5, all the while being dazzled by those walking past with the Galaxy S3. One hilarious TV spot that gets the point across: the iPhone is so dated that your parents are buying it. Samsung is saying the Galaxy S3 is not just on the same level as the iPhone, but has in fact surpassed it as the most advanced model available on the market. Even translating well to print, the ads aren’t bashful in their attack as they directly line up the attributes of the two phones and clearly show where the iPhone falls short: smaller screen, fixed internal storage, and a non-removable battery to name a few.
The timing of the release was all the more insulting as it effectively rubbed salt in Apple’s wounds. Launched just several days before the iPhone 5 release, the lines Samsung was poking fun at really were forming, and as soon as it came out complaints have come rolling into Apple. Problems with mapping prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to deliver an apology to owners, and problems connecting to Wi-Fi led to losses in data and a subsequent update to fix the problem, but not in time to fix the bad press (nvonews.com). Meanwhile, social media forums are filling up with complaints, making it no stretch to assume that prospective buyers might be turned off and see the Galaxy S3 as a superior alternative. The recent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung also provided an unlikely boost. The verdict attributed over $1 billion in damages to Apple, but rather than discredit Samsung, the constant comparisons between the products in the press set the two on equal footing, which attributed to a 16% growth in sales for the Galaxy S3 (latinospost.com).
There begs the question if the antagonistic campaign, as flashy as it is, is serving the company well. The downside to the attacks is that for all the money spent by Samsung to push the Galaxy S3 into the minds of buyers when they consider Apple, they are no less publicizing the iPhone as well. Going one step further than the TV spots, the print ads don’t just mention the iPhone 5 by name but show the product along with a list of its features. Whether or not the scathing ad is worth the potential promotion of the rival product remains to be seen. An interactive ad on Samsung’s Facebook page asked users which phone they would rather be lost on a desert island with, but the ad backfired and many commenters posted about iPhone 5 (www.huffingtonpost.com). Also, it may not serve the company well to mock iPhone fanatics, as amusing as it may be in the commercial, as it may not be a valid way to convert them into Galaxy owners.
Be the money well spent or not, the ads combined with press during the recent trial have positioned Samsung as a contender with Apple and it may very well be the next big thing.