Repositioning A Competitor, Part II: New Samsung Ads Bite Apple’s Customers

Repositioning A Competitor, Part II: New Samsung Ads Bite Apple’s

Samsung wants to win the marketing war.  The company’s latest TV commercial for its Galaxy S III smartphone—unleashed in time for the iPhone 5’s recent release—turns up the anti-Apple volume to eleven.

It may have lost a major patent legal battle against Apple in late summer, but Samsung still wants to win the marketing war. In fact, the company’s latest TV commercial for its Galaxy S III smartphone—unleashed in time for the iPhone 5’s recent release—turns up the anti-Apple volume to eleven.

That’s because in the ads, Apple’s customers are the real targets.

That strategy violates a longstanding rule when it comes to repositioning the competition in marketing campaigns: it’s okay to go after your rivals, but it’s risky to offend their customers. After all, you want them to switch to your product/service, right?

Hence the satirical trailblazing nature of the Samsung ad: it starts with long lines outside familiar-looking stores in major U.S. cities as customers talk about the product they’re eagerly awaiting. “They said this phone is going to be like a precious jewel,” one says. “The headphone jack is going to be on the bottom,” another says in awestruck tones. Another customer whines that since he’s stood in line five times before, he should get special treatment.

Get it? Apple’s fans aren’t just lemmings for the company; they’re also annoying.

Then those with Samsung Galaxy S III’s walk by, bragging that they’ve always had larger screens and LTE support—two features just now being offered by the iPhone 5. They bump phones to share playlists (no near-field communication on that new Apple phone). What’s worse, one guy with a Galaxy isn’t really waiting in line to buy an iPhone—he’s merely saving a place for his parents.

Ewwwww. Suddenly the iPhone, a product bestowing ultimate techno-coolness to hip young adults since its introduction in 2007…is your mother’s smartphone?

The ad is funny, knowing, and has something for both mainstream audiences and the tech-savvy. Yet it remains a roll of the dice to paint the competition’s customers as uncool and worthy of derision. The Galaxy S III has indeed sold well since its early summer 2012 launch, and most people forget that Android phones have the lion’s share of the smartphone market.

But despite a different connector that makes your old iPhone accessories obsolete unless you buy a new adapter, Apple still sold five million iPhone 5’s in its first week of availability.

So the smartphone war rages on. And as Samsung sees it, the stereotypical Apple customer is now collateral damage.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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