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.