The role of a good video/TV ad is to develop a voice and a brand, catch people's attention, amuse them and perhaps even tell a compelling story. Samsung's latest anti-Apple does that. What's missing? Pretty much the truth.
Samsung's latest entry into its line of maddeningly charming and goofy anti-Apple ads is called "Wall Huggers." It tells the story about how Apple customers are greatly tied to wall electrical outlets, no matter where they go.
The cute angle is that Apple customers are like gargoyles, crouched uncomfortably in airport concourses, with lots of annoying cords and power adapters, deprived of joyful social gatherings with colleagues. There is a sense that by being so tied to the wall, in their desperate communications, the users are somehow impoverished in technology and spirit.
And that's what makes the ad both so charming and irritating.
Just The Facts Please
Of course, in reality, things are not as the Samsung ad portrays. Apple customers as a whole seldom have frequent, desperate moments. There is typically a sizing up of the iPhone's capabilities over the months and an adjustment to its battery is made. For frequent business travelers, with great needs, they either carry an extra battery pack or use a case with a built-in battery.
Jeff Gamet, TMO's managing editor, travels frequently, and reports that when people are looking for electrical power in airports, their needs span all types of devices and all brands. No one company is immune, but that's the subtle conceit in this ad anyway.
But never mind that. The art of a good ad is to pull a technology theme out of the air that seems plausible. Everyone who has had a low battery on a device, from time to time, can certainly sympathize. The Samsung ad looks like it might have an element of truth to it. Add a little good-natured poking at Apple, suggesting that all Apple customers have this problem all the time, and you have the makings of an effective video ad.
What was especially creative was showing a guy in the airport bathroom, plugged into the wall outlet. The next thing he does, we might imagine, is fumble his iPhone into the urinal. The images just keep coming, and you can make up your own jokes and play along.
Of course, the ad has no fundamental relationship to the daily lives of Apple customers. But it's inventive and, most of all, effective. Apple is such a buttoned-down company that, for many, it's fun to see a competitor having some fun at Apple's expense.
This ad, in particular, must have Apple executives fuming. It showcases all the things that Apple celebrates for its own customers: imagination, creativity, visualization, humor and story telling.
But then, after all, it's fiction.