Anything you can do I can do better!

Planit Agency
October 26, 2012

Let’s chat about Samsung’s recent TV and print ads promoting the Galaxy S III as superior to the iPhone 5—excellent strategy or risky, immature approach? This campaign reminds me of the 2009-era Mac vs. PC commercials that touched on specific technical strengths (or weaknesses), and brought to life the idea that one brand is outdated (old) as illustrated with the varying ages of the actors.

Before we dive in, check out one of the recent Samsung TV spots.

Now, let’s look at both sides of the argument:


Why? It has a compelling, memorable message that strikes right to the heart of the target audience with a humorous spin that almost everyone can appreciate—even the most diehard Apple fans.

Gary Stibel, founder and principal of the New England Consulting Group, commented in favor of the campaign in a recent Advertising Age blog post by stating, “It not only positions the advertised brand, but repositions the competition…attack[ing] arguably the world’s most valuable brand and most iconic innovator in a fashion that is nothing short of making it your father’s Oldsmophone.” This is specifically illustrated in the TV spot by a Galaxy S III owner holding a spot in line for someone else—his 60-something parents.


Why? It expands awareness of the competitor, positions the opposing brand as the standard for all other brands to aspire to, and reinforces the loyalty of iPhone users who are willing to wait in line for every release.

As I mentioned above, one perception the ads perpetuate is that the Galaxy S III is too cool for an older generation, but does this ultimately eliminate and sell short an ever-growing market of boomers who are increasingly tech-savvy and, more importantly, financially strong?

The print ad campaign that supports a similar superiority message hit newspapers across the US this past summer.


Some in the industry, like Andrew Kalinchuk from the Digital Trends website, feel the campaign is an immature reaction to the recent patent issues between the two brands. “…Samsung has yet to move on after being ordered to pay Apple $1 billion in damages back in August. Publishing an advertisement directly comparing Apple’s products with its own is a bold move from Samsung, especially because it lost the court case to Apple for infringing on its patents.”

The print ad headline “It doesn’t take a genius” serves up a dual pun—it’s clearly a play on Apple’s Genius branding while communicating that choosing the Samsung device should be an easy “no-brainer” decision. But, as Kalinchuk points out, “…there’s a clear hitch with this type of comparison, however, as Samsung has (for obvious reasons) made the list of features quite one-sided in the Galaxy S3′s favor…For instance, where’s FaceTime, iCloud, or iTunes integration? And Android 4.0 is a year old now while iOS 6.0 is brand new, is that really something to brag about?”

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll send you a free smartphone of your choice! OK, not really—but we’d still love to hear what you think about this brilliantly risky campaign.