Samsung this past weekend released a new ad touting its latest "innovation," its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Now I put "innovation" in quotes because initial reviews of the device have been universally negative, with the consensus being that this is a half \-baked product at best, and a pathetic attempt to out iWatch Apple with no rhyme or reason at worst.
Here is the Samsung Galaxy Gear ad:
And below is Apple's original iPhone ad, which premiered during the 2007 Oscars.
The parallels between the two commercials are obvious, but even if one were to make a case that it may just be coincidental, it's hard to really buy into that given that Samsung has already been found guilty of copying Apple's intellectual property. With Samsung's track record, it's really hard to give them any sort of benefit of the doubt.
Matt Drance of Apple Outsider has a good take on what's missing from the Galaxy Gear ad. And to borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs, the Galaxy Gear ad simply lacks any semblance of taste and creativity.
The iPhone dramatically tore down our understanding of everything that preceded it: phones; computers; software; the Internet; how we consume information; how we communicate; how we are (not) beholden to gigantic infrastructure companies that basically hate us. It’s all done differently now. The Way Things Are was about to become The Way Things Were. So, “Hello.”
The Galaxy Gear ad, and the Galaxy Gear itself, convey none of this. The ad primes us with decades of fantastic expectations — expectations which just about any review of the product you can find will tell you have not been met. It also implicitly, and very ironically, shows just how lacking in vision the product itself is. The iPhone ad says, “We’re starting over.” The Gear ad says, “We tried to make that exact thing you’ve seen on TV all these years.”
You would assume that Samsung, given the breadth of accusations that it shamelessly copies the products of others, would be somewhat more aware of their marketing and how it might be perceived. And copying aside, Drance nails it when he calls the commercial "lazy."
The first iPhone completely changed the way we communicate, on a real macro and micro level. Anyone who has similar expectations upon watching the Galaxy Gear commercial is in for a rude awakening.
Even Ken Segall, who previously worked on a number of iconic Apple ad campagins, couldn't hide his true feelings about the Galaxy Gear ad, going so far as to call it "crap" and a "crime against advertising."
Rule number one when you set out to copy someone else’s work: “Do it well.” In ignoring this rule, Samsung has set itself up for the double whammy — attacked for being unoriginal and creatively anemic.
Just compare the two commercials. The iPhone ad is perfectly simple. Each of its clips is quick and features the same “hello” word. You get it instantly.
The Samsung ad is a mess. Its creators seem to believe that if they turn a bunch of clips about watches into a commercial, it will have the same effect. It doesn’t.
Some of Samsung’s clips barely make sense. In the end, you’re left with a sloppy stew of disjointed snippets that say little.
While some may claim that I'm being needlessly harsh on Samsung, keep in mind that I typically enjoy Samsung's marketing efforts. I think the commercials that pan Apple fanboys is absolutely great. They're fun, engaging, and really sell the Samsung brand well.
The Galaxy Gear commercial, however, lacks soul. It's just empty. And truth be told, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise given that the product itself doesn't really seem to have a niche of any sort. The product lacks direction and so does its commercial.