How Samsung came up with iPhone-mocking ads

By , Jan 23, 2013

Samsung ad (iPhone 5 launch 001)

When it comes to Samsung’s Galaxy devices and competition with Apple, you could say its advertising approach is overly abrasive.

It doesn’t shy away from likening Apple fans to iSheep, poking fun of those who’d wait in line for an iPhone and targeting the latest iPhone 5 in print, on Facebook and Super Bowl.

The South Korean firm buys expensive ad slots to spoof Apple on prime time TV, with a simple goal: isolate Apple fans from the ‘others’ by painting them as brainwashed drones who happily swallow whatever Apple happens to shovel down their throat.

As far as general public is concerned, Samsung’s negative campaign has put it on par with Apple as people started talking more about its products. If you ever wondered how they came up with the risky iPhone-mocking idea in the first place, here’s your answer…

Michal Lev-Ram did an interesting piece for Fortune title “Samsung’s road to global domination”.

The write-up analyzes Samsung’s market position relative to its rivals and shares an anecdote of how Samsung’s ad agency 72andSunny came up with the now famous commercial that bashes iPhone line sitters.

On a mid-September morning, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook stepped onto a stage in San Francisco to unveil the iPhone 5. Several hundred miles away, in a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Los Angeles, a group of marketing executives from Samsung Electronics followed real-time reactions to Cook’s remarks.

They huddled around tables mounted with laptops and TV screens, carefully tracking each new feature and monitoring the gush of online comments on the new device via blogs and social media sites. As the data flowed in, writers from the company’s advertising agency, who were also camped out in the restaurant turned war room, scrambled to craft a response.

They moved at breakneck pace because the response was fully conceptualized in a matter of hours.

Two hours later, when Cook stepped off the stage, the Samsung group was already drafting a series of print, digital, and TV ads. The following week – as the iPhone 5 went on sale– the company aired a TV ad mocking Apple “fanboys” queuing up for the new phone. (“The headphone jack is going to be on the bottom!”)

The 90-second commercial went on to become the most popular tech ad of 2012, garnering more than 70 million views online. More important, in the weeks following the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung sold a record-breaking number of its own signature smartphone, the Galaxy S III.

Of course, Samsung knew from the onset that mocking Apple publicly was the best way to position itself as Apple’s chief rival and set the tongues wagging.

Todd Pendleton, marketing chief of Samsung’s U.S.-based mobile division:

We knew this was going to be a big moment in time, when consumers are really paying attention. We wanted to take that opportunity and all that energy and make it Samsung’s moment.

The way I see this, Apple marketing’s key concern about Samsung should be the fact that the Galaxy maker outspends everyone on advertising, including Apple.

Little wonder Samsung’s anti-Apple ads have become impossible to avoid.

I mean, they’ve been amping up its anti-Apple advertising ever since.

Unfortunately, some surveys indicate Samsung’s aggressive advertising strategy is paying off. Worse, the Samsung brand is becoming more sticky.

Their hostile tactics could (and probably will) backfire in the long run. But for now, Samsung commercials tap a rising outpouring of hate by Apple critics who bash Apple like pros.

Does any of this make any sense to you?

And do you as a fan of Apple feel offended seeing these childish ads?

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  • http://twitter.com/Sawsadistic Jigsaw

    Well yes it does make sense, and I do not feel insulted by these “Childish” ads. I do disagree with some of them only highlighting the not so major changes… But this is business, and frankly they can diss any product, even apple could do the same if they wanted to.

    • http://twitter.com/knd775 uǝq

      Sometimes I wish that Apple would mock them for always trying to imitate the iPhone, but at the same time I don’t really want Apple to stoop to that immature level.

    • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 Rudolf Lichtner

      Actually such kind of advertising is disallowed in my country.

      • tward09

        I’ve read that it’s not legal in a lot of countries, and wasn’t legal here until not too long ago (relatively).

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    What goes around, comes around… and I say this because sadsung is now putting themselves in a position where people look like sheeps buying sadsung phones… so what they are going to do? mock themselves? like “buy our next big thing” and people go crazy to buy their next galaxy phone? … obviously it was not a clever ad.

    And the most funny part is that now most of the hipsters are buying GalaxyS3 phones because the “iPhone is too mainstream…”

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      Lol, so damn true.

  • http://twitter.com/knd775 uǝq

    It doesn’t offend me personally, but it just seems to irritate me that people fall for this. What about the stuff the iPhone has that the S III doesn’t? Just because we’ve had features that android users are only just now catching up to, and we are just asking for minor changes to polish off an amazing device, doesn’t mean the S III is better.

    • Kurt

      what features does the iphone have currently that the SIII doesn’t have?

  • 4p0c4lyps3

    Means nothing to me. If it did I guess I wld have bought an S3.

  • tward09

    I honestly think the ads are quite funny. I love my iPhone, and have had Android (meh), and Android has fanboys more hardcore than Apple. Regardless, the ads are pretty accurate for a large chunk of consumers. It’s not hard to get excited for the next iPhone, but I’m not going to be standing in line days prior to the release just to get one on the first day like a bunch of people do. I think it’s a good thing that they’re making these ads. It will lead to more competitive, creative, and better innovation and features by Apple, especially since the commercials have been a hit. Then again, Samsung is making fun of something that they wish they had; in a way, the ads show their complete and utter jealousy.

    • http://twitter.com/piyushr21 Piyush

      So true

    • http://twitter.com/cheeyuyanggg Chee Yu Yang

      Android has fanboys more hardcore than Apple.

      agreed. i dont understand why people always say theres a lot of isheeps..i only see bunch of people mocking apple and protecting samsung..

  • J M

    Why would you call them “Childish” they are smart ads for sure! They took all the hype that was built up with people following the iPhone 5, and everyone wanting one and said “Hey, don’t fall for this gimmick, come look what’s already available”. Anything tied to the iPhone was immediately going to get picked up, so they used their own advertising budget + all the attention they would get from picking on the iPhone for extra exposure.

    Two questions: 1) Why is it “unfortunately” that the ads are proving to effective? The competition is good for us iPhone users. I think apple has grown at least mildly complacent with it’s massive success, and it has let others slip into the forefront of creating impressive hardware. I want apple to feel like they need to compete for my continuing business (even though realistically if an iPhone iteration doesn’t impress me, I’m more likely to just wait than jump ship).

    2) What possible data do you have to state that “Their hostile tactics could (and probably will) backfire in the long run.”? When you just stated to the contrary that the ads are effective…

    • Kurt

      good points

    • Hyr3m

      Did you see who wrote this “article” ? Did you really expect him to write something fair, objective and unbiased ?

      • J M

        No of course not, doesn’t mean I’m not going to call it out anyway

      • Hyr3m

        You’re probably right but I’ve kinda given up when it comes to Christian… it’s so obviously wrong that I can’t even dare to imagine someone reading him and not realizing it; My hope in mankind is too great for that ^^

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1659581606 Jacob Noah Wolin

    I wonder where Samsung got the idea to mock and poke a lot of fun at its rival (cough cough, I’m a Mac and I’m a PC

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      There’s a huge difference between mocking products with facts vs their costumers…. huge difference. You just can’t call people “stupid” and expect them to buy your product after that…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1659581606 Jacob Noah Wolin

        But it was a easy comparison and apple did it because windows was a huge success so Samsung is doing it because they saw that that type of commercial worked and now they are hitting apple with the same thing apple hit windows with

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Still, doesn’t “hit” on people, just on Windows flaws, and Windows never was showed in those commercials. It was just a guy called the “PC guy”… that was, indeed a cleaver Ad and not offensive, because people who used windows know exacly that they were talking about Windows, without apple mentioning Windows, because they recognized the flaws… the very well known huge flaws… (security, stability, lack of user friendly… the need of a active maintainance to keep the system working fine, etc…)

        And windows was a huge success because of what? they copied so many features from the MacOSX, and put them on every PC.. it was Microsoft who started that war. Youtube /watch?v=N-2C2gb6ws8

        And even after the Vista, the Windows 7 adopted a “superbar” that is a rip-off of the old Dock…

      • Kurt

        “im a mac, i dont get pc viruses” makes it sound like to the unaware that macs dont get any viruses. they did a lot of dribble like that

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Actually Macs don’t have Viruses and only had a few malware aka Trojans that needed the user permission to infect but doesn’t spread like a Virus, that if you have “macs on a network” get infected because of that one. And no, it’s not market share related the very limited “malware” for Macs.

        Mac OS 9 and older versions had many Viruses with just 3% of marketshare, and the iPhone (that its just the OSX little brother) has a huge marketshare and has no viruses.

        Microsoft only after the XP had a huge progress (but still, not perfect) against viruses and malware. That’s why on the 90’s all hacking community hated Windows so much, because the “Good guys” tried to help Microsoft on that and they didn’t care at all…

  • http://www.whitewatch.info/ Tanja Apter

    said it before.. how is this any different than the “i’m a mac, i’m a pc” ads from years back? I’m an iPhone user but people that actually take offence to this, that don’t actually work for or hold stock in apple, are pretty sad.

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    It just shows that they carn’t promote there own device with out trying to rubbish other devices… It’s a low tactic and it does work but it just goes to show how low these big company’s will go to sell there devices..

  • http://twitter.com/djthotsa Thotsa

    I think Samsung galaxy note 2 is cool . It’s will my next phone. sense 2007 I was fun apple but they same as what Steve job have done nothing as new and too much bugs

    • http://www.facebook.com/Johannes.Mertens Johannes Mertens

      dafuq

    • Ron R

      What?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002090550614 Kash Gummaraju

      Please speak proper English and tell us what the bugs are? So let me get this straight, you think Samsung started the resolution revolution? Or the voice assistant revolution? Apple did all that if it weren’t for apple there wouldn’t be a Galaxy phone or phablet. Remind me what Samsung did to revolutionize the world? What’s with- It is will my next phone-? 1. The Galaxy Note 2 is not a phone it is phablet, 2. It’s, It will be- not it is will. This English and troll posts on an apple dedicated blog is very typical of a phandroid who should stay out and admire the piece of plastic they worship.

      • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

        lol leave Yoda alone.

      • http://twitter.com/djthotsa Thotsa

        ཁྱེད་རང་ཕ་རོ་ལེན་མ་དགུ་ཟོ་ཨ།།

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      The best think to come out of Korea was Gangnam Style… Which is now doing my head in. Samsung comes last.

  • bigzjoseph

    I laugh every times when i see this ad

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidmstrom David Strom

    Who cares? Samsung is differentiating itself in the market. I have been using an iPhone since the 3gs came out (perhaps the best phone I have ever owned, although I LOVE the iPhone 5 because it is so light). But I think it is healthy to have Android out there nipping at Apple’s heels. I just wish the patent wars would go away.

    I bought a Nexus 7, waiting for a retina iPad mini. Totally underwhelmed by Android. It would be revolutionary if it were the 1st decent tablet, but the iPad blows it away. If I never saw an iPad, I would be in love. But instead, meh.

    But I can see why Android has fanbois too. It is customizable, and the cost of entry is lower now. There might not be an iPad mini without Android tablets, and I for one think the mini is the perfect tablet for me (once it hits retina).

    So I say to Samsung: keep Apple on its toes!

  • iDevizes

    nice article! but don’t know if samsung will benefit from the aggressive campaign. Maybe on short term but not for long… a company is good if they don’t have to compare products with others ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.m.simon Stephen Michael Simon

    Between Amazon Prime, Netflix, and me downloading most all the shows I watch, I never have to see these silly commercials.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raaed.rizza.7 Raaed Rizza

    iPhone runs iOS and S3 runs shitdroid enough said!

  • http://twitter.com/neoamaru Neo Ajaka

    i’m gonna try being as objective as i can here:

    i use Apple Products most of the time, but i also do have a GNote so don’t hate on me,

    Samsung’s ads are Brilliant whether you like them or not..they are brutal, yet straightforward & Brilliant…and yes, the iPhone 5 is for me nothing but another incremental change from the iPhone 4…might as well call it the iPhone4S Prime…nothing radical there..that’s why i settled for the Note along w/ my iPhone 4S which works just fine…
    that’s one part,
    on the other hand…i’m gonna take you back to 2007, when Steve *a man i ADORE btw* was unveiling the very first iPhone…go to youtube & load the keynote & fast forward to the “usual suspects” part…you see him bashing other phone makers & his fanboys were dumbly chuckling as he was doing this..& every keynote after that contained disses on other smartphone makers here & there…& that was ALSO a Marketing Strategy,

    so…umm…when Samsung does it…you Release the Kraken..but when Steve does it..that’s OK….
    bottom line is…Business is Business..no matter how ugly it is…get over it & always go for the Best…& NO the iPhone 5 in my opinion is NOT the best right now…let’s hope Apple would release a better device this year..or the year after that…

    • http://www.facebook.com/luisreyespr Luis

      In part, I would agree. But what I keep seeing is Steve Jobs dissing obviously inferior phones and software (products), but instead Samsung bashes what?; the phone structure that their phone is based on, practically offering the same technology, and calling people stupid for buying the original (not even the phone, the people who buys them). So it is marketing as you say, but not necessarily true, the iPhone is not inferior in any category.

      • Kurt

        iphone is easily inferior to the note II and gsIII. be honest about that. also lumia 920 is a better phone. iphone 5 is not the best by a long shot.

    • Kurt

      excellent points

  • DroidDoesnt_2

    Classic Coke vs. Pepsi….Coke was viewed as the Real Thing, while Pepsi was the brash, loudmouthed imitator who sought to draw attention to itself by bashing the incumbent. All Apple has to do is simply ignore them and point to days like today: record revenues, record sales, and 71% of the profits in the industry…mock that

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      I 2nd that… Mock That Troll bitches.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    Samsung uses Apple to draw attention to itself… Get a life Samsung, without Apple you would still be making clamshell phones.

    • TriguyRN

      .

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1600159663 Glorin Chiourea

      ENOUGH SAID!

  • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

    I am special and there is no line for me~~~

    I got 2x iPhone 4S on the first day from Fedex.

    I got 2x iPhone 5 on the 3rd or 4th day from online order and instore pickup.

  • Liam Mulcahy

    The commerical is funny but apple is awesome

    • Kurt

      can you please explain?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1600159663 Glorin Chiourea

        HATERS GONNA HATE,,,, FOREVER

      • Liam Mulcahy

        What do u want me to explain i not saying Samsung is bad

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        Troll

  • jorith

    You could see it as bash on apple, or just as a commercial that finally points out the BIG flaws that apple has, and because all the fandom, was ignored until now. I dont think anyone likes samsung better because of these commercials, but it does make people think twice before spending there money on a apple device.

    This in combo with apple being pretty much frozen in place(have you seen anything really innovative in ios the last 2 iOs versions or the phone itself?) i think Samsung has just had perfect timing on this.

    • Kurt

      so many awesome features of iOS! how dare you!, iOS 6 gives us split screen with real multi tasking! oh, wait, not it doesn’t…well, ios has it when a friend sends you a email with a video a pop up of the video plays and you can go to other apps with that video still playing in front of the other apps! thats innovation! oh wait, thats not ios again…hmm. damn, i think you are right. ios sucks. is that why it was made from grandparents?

  • http://twitter.com/alexx1291 Cazz

    Apple releases 1 commercial: samsung releases 20 about how apples commercials suck too.

    Seems legit

    • Kurt

      samsung releases many commercials about features they have that iphone users like myself drool over, features we will never ever get. ie. split screen, floating videos, etc

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        U my friend are clueless, u come on a website that features iOS tweaks continuously and make such comments…. Have you never heard of Quasar? Multi tasking, floating windows long before Samdung products ever featured, in fact I would go as far as saying Samdung copy what the cydia development community creates.. .

      • Hyr3m

        So apple is awesome because some people that do not work for apple created great stuff against apple’s will ? Are you sure you’re betting on the right horse here ?

  • TriguyRN

    Dude it’s “unfortunate” that these are working. Wow dude………

  • http://twitter.com/just_dangling Vinh Dang- Le

    Well you know apple is doing something good if the other company’s are taking a shot at apple.

  • demonoidmaster

    God you fucking isheep are annoying as fuck. Do the world a favor and kill yourselves ffs.

    Written from this shitty broken down jailbroken iphone 4 that my boss lent me for work

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

    lol the ads are funny

  • Anshul

    Praise Apple or mock Apple in the ads, you have to admit you cant AVOID Apple!

  • Hyr3m

    I’m glad to see Christian has embraced his completely biased opinion and isn’t even trying to hide it anymore… He’s even went into wishful thinking! I usually never give up but I think the Zibreg is a lost cause.

    • Kurt

      true true

  • Falk M.

    I’d rather have my Apple of 2006 and earlier back.

    They are better as underdogs and that’s what they should be again.
    Mind you, I’m a big Apple fan, but they just are way more amazing when put under pressure and into an underdog position.

    They just try harder and it’s natural. Every human and company works that way.

    Mind you, I’m not necessarily talking design, but functionality here.

  • Kurt

    samsung should make commercials showing grandmothers using the phone and praising how simple and featureless it is. since ios is made for grandmothers anyway

  • Jonathan

    It’s annoying having technologically impaired people pull out a Galaxy S III from their pocket and brag about all it can do:

    “My phone has Magic S Rainbow Beam, a triple quad magic funnel core processor and Android 7.1 ‘Unlimited All You Can Eat Diabetes Buffet'”

    “Really, how do you use S Beam?”

    “I haven’t figured that out yet.”

    “Gosh, you must play some graphically intense games with that magic processor”

    “Yeah, Angry Birds screams on this phone”

    Really, why bothering buying a phone that does more than you need it to?

    • Hyr3m

      At least they’re bragging about a phone that’s actually really good and can do a lot more than the iPhone5 can.

      What’s even more annoying is all the iSheeple bragging about their iP5 being the best phone ever when it’s not even in the top10… Bragging about all the possibilities and functionalities when it can do much less than a SGS3 and they’re as useless with the iP5 as the SGS3 owner you’ve just described.

      • Jonathan

        I was never bragging about what my iOS device does, you know what’s worse than “iSheep?” Android users who are so hateful of Apple and its products for no fucking reason. Most of the posts and comments on this site aren’t anti-Google or anti-Android, so gtfo.

      • Hyr3m

        I have plenty of reasons for hating Apple and what they’ve done to the industry! A lot of “articles” on this site (mostly Christian Zibreg’s) are very biased, anti-google/android, hateful and plain stupid for no good reason other than being hyper-receptive to Apple’s manipulation/suggestion marketing strategies…

      • Jonathan

        Then stop wasting your time and go comment on a pro-hippie, pro-android, pro-google site, its okay to have an opinion, its just that YOURS IS IRRELEVANT IN AN APPLE-CENTRIC, PRO-APPLE SITE.

      • Hyr3m

        Chill shill! Your knit-hat will fall off in your cup of starbucks coffee if you keep being this edgy.

      • Jonathan

        Your mother will throw you out of her basement if you keep up this shit.

      • Hyr3m

        6 figures say I’ll throw your mom out of my basement.

      • Jonathan

        My mom has a job and a stable income, and surprise its not being “internet tough guy”

      • Hyr3m

        Wait, so you’re saying “internet tough guy” is a job with a stable income ? How much are they paying you to be a hip-shill ?

        Are you also implying 6 figures isn’t stable ? You’re right… when it keeps rising like this all the time it’s not very stable… especially not with all the bonuses I get.

  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J.

    I think the commercials are funny. Same way Apple’s was great versus Microsoft a few years back. Not sure why Apple or Apple fans should be offended. Was Apple’s ad’s childish back then? Sucks when your the target. Apple should handle it like Coke. Let them keep comparing to the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fmbar00 Fabio Rodrigues

    I see “iphone 5″ on the quotes???

    doesn’t it start with the 4S???