Apple and Samsung are at war, with each claiming that they make the best smartphones and tablets on the market. Apple had the top brand recognition in the mobile space, though Samsung’s gone one to make some of the most successful Android devices yet, beating out competitors like HTC and Sony in the process.
The latest and greatest devices from both the companies are often compared not only by the media and consumers, but by Samsung itself. The South Korean company explicitly calls out Apple and its customers in commercials, not unlike Apple’s own “Get a Mac” advertising campaign that jabs at PCs. Talk about giving Apple a taste of its own medicine.
Case in point: In two commercials, Samsung stereotyped Apple customers as mindless fans who will queue for hours to purchase iOS devices, even when the S2 is superior (in Samsung’s opinion). The spot didn’t even promote the S2’s virtues.
With the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung is gearing up for another round of anti-Apple ads. The company quickly came up with a spec sheet comparison that obviously tilts towards the S3, and already has a video on YouTube jabbing iPhone fans while showing off its own devices.
What’s Samsung Trying to Achieve?
Samsung dominates the market as the top mobile OEM (smartphone and non-smartphone) in the U.S., and it’s undoubtedly the top Android maker. The company’s next mission is to take over Apple’s throne, once and for all, as the maker of the best-selling smartphone. Its Galaxy S3 is the best-selling smartphone for three out of four of the major U.S. carriers, a title previously held by the iPhone 4S. But with the launch of the iPhone 5, Samsung’s position is insecure at best.
With its commercials, Samsung is attacking one of Cupertino’s main advantages: brand. According to Brandirectory and WPP, Apple is the most valuable global brand this year (while the two consultants peg Samsung at #6 and #55 respectively). Through such strong branding, Apple products are associated with attributes like “cool,” “premium,” “provides great user experience” and “it just works,” even by consumers who normally don’t pay attention to technology.
By consistently delivering products that meet user expectations, Apple has been able to amass a large, loyal base of customers who wouldn’t think twice about purchasing another Apple product. Some Apple fans said they would buy the iPhone 5 even before it was announced, without knowing what the company was cooking up.
Samsung is attempting to instill doubts in Apple customers and shake their confidence that Cupertino will deliver every single time. Besides attracting customers from Apple’s camp, its commercials are designed to make Samsung’s own customers feel good about their purchase decisions.
The company is reminding its customers that they have bought a superior product, and that they made s an informed purchase, unlike those of their iPhone-wielding friends. And by constantly comparing itself to Apple, Samsung is able to associate itself with the brand leader to the extent that the Korea-based company’s name will come up whenever people discuss iPhones. This can’t be said about other Android OEMs.
It doesn’t even matter whether Samsung is praised or damned in the discussions. The company will get a wave of brand recognition and free publicity either way — and that’s not a bad thing. Even better, Samsung is getting free press at a time during the iPhone 5 buzz. That’s smart marketing.