New TV ad from Samsung: Is it “smart” to Take on Apple?

As the two brands battle in the tablet and smart phone market, the most recent TV ads by Samsung have them mocking Apple consumers.  They are pretty funny ads, a good parody of the most loyal of loyal Apple consumers.  

I love them.  But are they a smart strategy?  

As an Apple fan, they even make me laugh at myself, a little bit how I laugh at myself for not buying the Apple stock at $150….$250….$400 or even $550 earlier this year.  While Apple might have had a sloppy news week (apology over the new map or some bitterness over the new iPhone 5’s new charger) the brand still has tremendous momentum as they continue to broaden their audience.  In fact, iPhone 5 has outsold iPhone 4 by 1 million units in the first weekend.  

These Samsung ads probably will sell a few more Galaxy phones, but it won’t do the two main things that it’s intended to do:  1) It won’t change how people feel about the Apple brand and 2) It won’t really change how people feel about the Samsung brand.

Samsung is not a brand driven company–but rather a product driven.  Even with all the sales, my Brand Love Index research shows that 48% of consumers are mainly Indifferent about Samsung brand–while some “Like It”.  This contrasts to the frenzy that consumers have with 71% seeing Apple as a beloved brand and no one is Indifferent to the brand.  Even the Sony brand still surprisingly outperforms Samsung, even though they’ve really been struggling to keep pace on anything electronics–TVs, phones, computers.

In general, successful brands are usually either better, different or cheaper.  The Samsung brand has found strength in being “cheaper”.   Samsung is the type of brand that you might switch to at the store level when you find out that you can get more features for 100 bucks less.   But then you don’t really brag about it to your friends.  

With this summer’s past lawsuit the judge summed up the Samsung brand when he dismissed one of Apple’s lawsuits.  Judge Colin Birss declared:

“The Galaxy tablets do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.  They are not as cool.”

So while these are good and funny ads, the research would suggest that Samsung has the brand clout with consumers to really carry out such an attack against the beloved Apple brand.  People likely laugh at the ads as they might a Saturday Night Live skit, but then wonder half an hour later what brand that was.  And if someone reminded them it was Samsung, you’d likely say “oh ya, Samsung” and then totally dismissed it.

If I were Samsung, I’d keep spending my marketing dollars at the store level trying to switch Apple users in the store or in the search and on-line space where I could highlight the product feature superiority.  As an offensive attack on Apple, Samsung is playing right into Apple’s strength of connectivity.  Yes, Samsung do a good job of  using the features of the Galaxy to demonstrate how great their phone is.  But the mocking of the Apple fans is the wrong way to go.  For a beloved brand like Apple, the consumer loyalty is far past logic.   These Apple consumers have replaced thinking with feeling, so this message will be totally lost on them.   Instead, the Apple fans are still chuckling over the Judge’s ruling that called Samsung “not cool”.

People who aren’t fans of Apple point to the product. (logic only)

But fans of Apple point to the brand.  (pure emotion)

Attacking Apple by making fun of the loyal users…funny ads…but, not so smart.


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About Graham Robertson: I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands.  My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand.   I only do two things:  1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better.  I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth.  And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. To read more about Beloved Brands Inc., visit   or visit my Slideshare site at where you can find numerous presentations on How to be a Great Brand Leader.  Feel free to add me on Linked In at  or on follow me on Twitter at @GrayRobertson1

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