Samsung vs. Apple = Red vs. Blue, Guess Who Wins

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

This is a simple ad, which is also why it is being displayed in…. newspapers.  It plays off  Apple’s Genius theme, but it is, literally, a straightforward comparison between two objects (obviously skewed towards the Galaxy S III.)

This is the kind of ad that you would never see for a political candidate except in a newspaper, and some of you may remember how the newspapers used to do just such a side by side match up when they wanted to feign impartiality.

The contrast between this print ad and the TV ad, however, are where you should pay attention: the TV ad says very little about the relative merits of the objects and instead focuses all of the 90 seconds making fun of Apple supporters.

The highlight is at :55, when the ad tries to rebrand the iphone as the preferred technology of your parents.  Ouch.

The key is that while the print ad is trying to convince (older) customers to pick the “better” phone on its “merits,” the TV ad works ad hominem.   In other words, the TV ad isn’t trying to convince you to hate Apple, it is directed towards “haters.”  No iphone user is going to watch this ad and reconsider his identity– but this ad isn’t for them.

So while of course Samsung would happily welcome some old iphone users, the true target demo of these TV ads are everyone else who already hates Apple enough to have avoided them for a decade: the users of LG, Nokia, Motorola, etc. If the phrase, “every voter, a consumer” is accurate, then there’s your metaphor: swing consumers.

But in America we really only have A and B, there aren’t other candidates to be aligned with, so who are all those negative attack ads from both sides directed to?  The reality of “swing voters” is that there aren’t very many of them at all, and they’re idiots.  No, the true target of these negative attack ads are the firmly committed “haters” of both sides who are however, tempted not to vote.  The attack ads should be read: “Don’t you hate this guy enough to get off your butt and vote for the other guy?  Please?”

But moving back and forth between the metaphors takes us to an important conclusion.  These ads may get you to buy Apple or Samsung, but the unseen force vector points pushes people to just buy a new phone of any kind, period.  In other words, though the battle appears to be between Samsung v. Apple, the true beneficiary is Verizon

Related posts:

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  2. The iPad and the Death of Techno-fetishism
  3. Now They’re Giving Us Easy Ones
  4. NYT op-ed: Martin Lindström misunderstands love, brain and iPhone
  5. What Will Be A Luxury in the Future? Everything Except Final Cut Pro.

4 Responses to Samsung vs. Apple = Red vs. Blue, Guess Who Wins

  1. spindritf says:

    > “Don’t you hate this guy enough to get off your butt and vote for the other guy? Please?”

    You mean “Don’t you hate (or at least feel better than? slightly dislike?) this guy’s supporters enough to get off your butt and vote for the other guy? Please?”.

    ps. Why do you have me blocked on Twitter (same username)? I don’t mean that your account is protected, I mean explicitly blocked, I don’t think we have ever interacted there.

  2. br_add says:

    I’m not sure Verizon and all the other carriers are the beneficiaries here – they don’t really make money selling the phones themselves, especially iPhones (which notoriously require greater subsidies from the carriers for the privilege of offering them).

    I can’t imagine that too many holdouts who don’t have cell phones (and thus would represent new revenue streams for the carriers) would be convinced by this ad to abandon their luddite ways.

    Also worth mentioning that political attack ads can be used to keep someone who might be inclined to vote Republican / Democrat from voting at all, since they become disillusioned of their semi-preferred candidate after seeing the ad. But I suppose there is no real equivalent to this in the commercial sphere, eh?

  3. Guy Fox says:

    The highlight is at :55, when the ad tries to rebrand the iphone as the preferred technology of your parents. Ouch.

    That seems to be a huge point. The print ad presents the Samsung as the product for sophisticates, using as much indecipherable, brandedtechnical jargon as they can (S-beam? Palm Swipe Capture?), and the Iphone list includes unbranded, dumbed-down terms (totally different plug). Message = Samsung is the brand of technical sophisticates; Apple of poseur parvenus.

    The commercial is similar. The Apple fans talk about how you’ll need a new adapter, but it’s bound to be ‘cool’, whereas the Samsungians focus on features & functions, like (imperceptibly) bigger screen and touching to transfer photos (as if Bluetooth, MMS, email, or any other of the 900 ways each device offers to transfer photos was really holding you back).

    The scary part is the intergenerational aspect of the sophistication-clueless divide, and it’s not just parallel to the political divide, it feeds directly into to it. When you think of Obama’s Central Time troglodytes clinging to their guns and religion, are any of them 20-somethings? 30-somethings? Teenagers or college freshmen, heaven forbid? Or are they old people, and you know they’re old because you can picture them with grey hair, which no one over 45 on either American coast has anymore, unless they’re Oregon hippies or have already been consigned to palliative care by their red-haired, 60plus Kronenbourg kids? Republicans are old, and they are so politically illiterate that they hate healthcare but love medicare, except for Paul Ryan, who hates both, but he’s so young he could almost be a romantic interest on Grey’s Anatomy or something. Check out this viral tweet that combines the smartphone branding, generation gap and cluelessness in <140 characters.

    There are enough reasons to worry about intergenerational conflict in the US and the West generally, not least of which are its correlations with politics, race, and wealth – oh, and semi-famous bloggers using superlatives like 'dumbest generation', even if sometimes accurate. The only real consolation is that the generation currently being most mocked but with the most power wrote anthems about pretty much the same thing 40 years ago. Looks like the best case scenario is that things are unlikely to get any worse.

  4. HP says:

    The only option we’ve had for quite some time is to vote for the lesser of two evils.

    What we need is not even a third-party president, but for a candidate from any third party to even come in second. I’d happily take [4 more years of Obama / 4-8 years of Romney] if I thought my vote could get anybody else in second – establishing that a third option can actually be a viable thing.

    Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people willing to take [4-8 years of Republican / 4 more years of Democrat] to give anybody else a shot. Just too much hate for the other guy to see the bigger picture.

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