Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Attack or Defend?

By Embra King

The common phrase heard in football locker rooms and military camps "the best defense is a good offense” seems to be well respected in their respected fields. But does this ideology work when it comes to advertising, is it really better to attack another's product than to promote your own? Samsung seems to think so and without naming any names challenges the iPhone and its apparent dim, Starbucks drinking, following.

The commercial, which aired last week, depicts long lines of bohemian Apple phone users standing in line waiting for the iPhone 4s. As they grumble about the “sketchy battery” and lack of physical changes to the phone, they catch a glimpse of preppy people not waiting in line using the already released Samsung Galaxy S II.

Near the end, Samsung tries to pitch that they have a bigger screen, and it runs on 4g network. However, the only feeling I come away from my multiple viewings was how silly it is that Samsung has narrowed down the iPhone user into this arty hipster, apparently blind to the fact that other phones are out there.

Attacking the completion is nothing new in the wild world of advertising. Audi and BMW have always taken stabs at each other resulting in things such as this billboard campaign. Apple also ran its own attacking campaign, the famous “I am a Mac, and I am a PC” stint. It is a tactic that politicians utilize many times over: “Vote for me because the other person is awful.”

As a consumer, I am more drawn to seeing why I should buy a product, not why I shouldn’t buy the other guy's. To me, it seems to take away from your product. If what you're selling is worth talking about, than talk about it. Sure, it makes for some fun, witty advertising, but does it really help move your product?

The fact is, Samsung is jealous; no one is waiting hours and hours to buy their phones, a fact that they poke fun of in their commercial. Apple has a huge share in the phone market thanks to their branding power and creation of beautiful easy to use products. With all this being said, I do like that Samsung has tried to take on the giant that Apple has become.

I just wish they had shown a little more backbone and mentioned the phone by name.

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