How Samsung’s Advertisers Are Kicking Apple’s Ass

by | Jul 23, 2014 | Marketing | 1 comment

Have you seen the newest ad by Samsung, mocking the screen size of the iPhone 6? The one that’s laughing at a phone that’s not even released yet?

If not, have a look:

If you know anything about me, then you must know that I’m an avid fan of Apple products (despite a few grudges, 22 to be exact, that I might have regarding them).

And I do realise that, as an Apple fan, I shouldn’t be saying this… but I truly think that these Samsung Galaxy ads are brilliant.


Two words: pain points.

I’ll be telling more about it, but before moving onto that, lets start by recognising some of the most incredible advertising done by Apple over the past few decades.

Apple, the Advertiser

Their 1984 Super Bowl ad, Introducing the Macintosh, is one of the most iconic and well-known ads that shattered people’s expectations of what an advertisement should be like.

30 years later, it still remains as a piece of art that gives goose-bumps to many people that are watching it, including me.

Another masterpiece was released in 1997, praising the crazy ones, the misfits, the troublemakers, the ones that change the world, and inviting us all to Think Different.

And one of my personal favourites: the “Get a Mac” campaign, also known as “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” – a series of ads that were running from May 2006 to October 2009.

Here’re 10 of the funniest ones:

Now, does that sound any familiar?..

I remember myself stumbling upon one of the Get a Mac ads about 6 years ago. I was so entertained by it that I spent the next few hours browsing YouTube and going through all the ads that I could find.Why?

Because the message resonated deeply within me.

At that time, I was among the 99.99% of people who were using a PC, and it sucked.

Countless crashes, numerous restarts, never-ending scans and unremovable viruses – I’m sure you might have had a similar experience too, haven’t you?

The clear distinction in the ad between a cool and flawless Mac vs an old and unreliable PC – the seed was planted in my mind and I knew that I will one day become part of the Mac community.

So, should we be surprised that we have Samsung using the same strategy against Apple? Not in the slightest.

Samsung vs Apple

8 years after the first Get a Mac ad went live, we now have Apple and Samsung in the two corners. However, this time it’s Apple that’s taking the hits: they’re the ones that don’t offer multitasking or touch-sharing, have smaller screens, no water resistance, poorer battery life, etc… – Apple is lagging behind, and Samsung is utilising every single bit of it.

First, there was the mockery of Apple fans queuing up for the iPhone 5.

This advertisement and the following article by the Wall Street Journal, Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung?, was so stingy that even Phil Schiller, the Senior Vice President for Worldwide Marketing at Apple, sent out a worried email to his colleagues:

Has Apple Lost Its Cool To Samsung? Lawsuit


We have a lot of work to do to turn this around…


Then, Apple introduced the iPad Air and showed how thin it is in an easy-to-understand way by comparing it to the width of a pencil (similarly to the Macbook Air in the envelope ad):


Yet, Samsung replied with a another punch in the face:

And one of the most recent ones, the Wall Huggers:


Killing the Pain Points

So what is happening here?

If you have any experience in sales, you must have heard the saying:

Don’t sell on the features, sell on the benefits.

The most effective sales will be those that target the needs of their customers. More often than not, it will be in response to the problems the customers have, their pain points, and selling on how the product can solve them, that is, the benefits the customer will receive.

Samsung identified the biggest pain points of Apple users and turned them into advertisements.

And that is exactly why I find these ads kick-ass.

They are witty and fun, they present Samsung Galaxy smartphone as a younger, cooler and better-featured version of an iPhone, and they do that by playing with our emotions, those pain points that hurt us the most, and then offering a tailor-made solution to each of them… – plain genius. *Applause*

We, the Apple fans, can relate to these pain points so much, that they evoke a strong emotional response and make us more vulnerable to the ads. At the same time, it strengthens the bond among the Samsung customers by making them feel superior to Apple fans. So unless we see a big effort by Apple to remove such pain points, we can expect Samsung to continue drilling on them.

The Battle for the Customer

So… is this the end? Can we expect that Samsung will sooner or later kill Apple?..

Well, not so fast. 

There’s a reason why Apple is currently the most valued company in the entire world at around $479 Billion by market capitalisation, there’s also a reason why it is ranked by Forbes as the World’s Most Valuable Brand at $104.3 Billion – a few advertisements from a competitor will not make a dent big enough to put such a giant down.

Quite the opposite – it looks like Apple is preparing for war.

It is already building an inside marketing army that is expected to rise to a staggering 1,000 marketers in the nearest future. Apple has also just acquired Beats Electronics at $3 Billion which will help them strengthen their image in the music industry even further.

Most importantly, they have their customers’ loyalty.

We all know what Apple represents, we know why they do what they do, we know the values Apple stands by – challenging the status quo, thinking different, providing exceptional customer support, focusing on simplicity, design and innovation to provide the best customer experience, and much more.

THIS is the heaviest asset that Apple has, and it is exactly what Samsung is missing.

So although I do applaud Samsung’s advertising campaigns, they are still way behind. Until Samsung crystallises what it stands for, other than just poking at Apple, they will fall short.

In the meantime, I’ll go grab some popcorns and get myself comfortable, because there sure will be a hell of a spectacle, once Apple decides to fight back.

Don’t you think? 🙂