While both the latest Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices depend on SoCs (System-on-a-Chip) manufactured under the same roof, their respective parent companies are bitter rivals in a highly competitive market. With any cut-throat competition there is often some form of mudslinging, in an attempt to sway the opinion of the masses, competitors will often spend significant time and money highlighting the flaws of their opposition. Seen on Thanksgiving, daily television, and even during the Super Bowl, the “Samsunged” ads are effectively everywhere. These ads aim specifically to portray enthusiastic early adopting iPhone owners in a rather negative and uninformed light, all the while inadvertently displaying Samsung owners as slightly pompous. The advertisements are certainly well produced, quite comical, and hit home many of the commonly held stereotypes of mobile operating system loyalty, but perhaps they are not as effective as Samsung intended.
Apple is certainly no stranger to this style of advertising, as I’m sure many of us remember the “Get a Mac” campaign, featuring Justin Long and John Hodgman – in North America. While often seen as insulting to members of the “I’m a PC” party, these ads were determined to be quite effective by consumers, official accolades, and Apple’s quarterly reports. Granted, this campaign was aimed at the personal computer market, the similarities to Samsung’s latest ads are undeniable.
With many customers still identifying Google’s operating system as “Droid” and just as many are unaware that more than one company produces handsets running it, perhaps this campaign is exactly what was needed. These ads serve well to differentiate Samsung from the other smartphone manufacturers, selling them by their name alone; however customers are seemingly confused by the entire ordeal.
Speaking with sales reps from major US carriers, often customers who come in to stores requesting to buy “a Samsung” after seeing the advertisements often haven’t the slightest inclination that they even run Android. Not only that, but they do not seem to know anything about the phones, other than that they are not iPhones. This form of anti-branding was commonly seen with Microsoft Zune, Sansa PMPs and Cowons in retaliation to the Apple iPod. In every case though, anti-branding saw limited success and eventually tapered out general interest.
Personally, I’ve found that most people don’t seem to quite understand what the Samsung Galaxy line even is and often leave the advertisements without remembering any tangible differences from the iPhone. A sizeable chunk of sales insinuated by these ads alone seem to be a direct result of anti-branding, rather than Samsung brand recognition. Perhaps it is just me, but I do not feel these ads are quite sending the best message or even communicating the strengths of the Galaxy line well. The Apple “Get a Mac” campaign demonstrated many significant differences, albeit exaggerated, and as a result viewers left with a solid opinion. Perhaps you see these ads differently than I do; if so please share your experiences.