Ken Segall says Apple needs to step up its ad campaign against Samsung

Apple's advertising has been flat relative to what Samsung has been pushing out these days.

It's hard to go anywhere these days and not see Samsung ads. The South Korean-based tech giant is on an absolute spending spree trying to get its message across, and oftentimes that message includes disparaging Apple and its fans.

And you know what, it's working.

Samsung's ads are sharp, biting, and, more importantly, funny. While Apple's recent iPhone and iPad ads attempt to be inspirational at best, or at the very least attempt to convey various use cases, it's worth noting that one of Apple's longest running campaigns in company history - the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads - were so memorable and effective precisely because they were funny.

In a recent blog post on his Observatory website, long-time Chiat/Day advertising director and Steve Jobs collaborator Ken Segall writes that Apple needs to inject a little bit more life into its ads to compete with Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising.

The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung.

Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

First, it is spending a fortune to run its ads. According to this report, Samsung spends more than Apple, more than HP and Dell, and even more than Coca-Cola to get its message out. In marketing, as in political advertising, the bigger the budget, the bigger the chance of success. Assuming, of course, that the message is a potent one.

The big surprise is that Samsung’s message has proven to be tremendously potent. The company continues to bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.

Indeed, Segall implicitly suggests that Apple's ads are growing rather stale, at least in comparison to Samsung's aggressive marketing campaigns. To wit, Samsung put up a two-minute Super Bowl ad starring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. This was complemented by longer ads that were prominently advertised on YouTube and in other media. Apple, in contrast, had nothing for the Super Bowl.

But Apple hasn't advertised during the Super Bowl in quite some time, so we can give them a break there. But what about the Oscars?

Well, Apple unveiled two new product-based iPad ads. And, truth be told, they were rather good. But as Segall notes, they were still traditional Apple ads. No spice, no flair, nothing new.

Samsung, in contrast, hired Tim Burton in this hilarious ad for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Now, when's the last time you laughed during an Apple commercial?

"The last time Apple tried to stir things up was when it unveiled a brand-new campaign during the summer Olympics," Segall adds. That ad campaign centered on Apple Geniuses helping out folks with computer problems in various situations. The ads were not well received and were pulled quickly after they first debuted.

"There are too many smart people at Apple and Chiat to take this lying down," Segall concludes. "...The stakes couldn’t be higher, and it’s time to recalibrate."

Yes it is.

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