updated 03:25 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012
Samsung hopes to make irrational appeal in US
Samsung's marketing lead Younghee Lee outlined a different plan of attack for reaching the US in an interview published on Monday. She made clear to AllThingsD that Apple was the company's main target. Americans were "obsessed with Apple," she said, and her goal was to trigger that same, seemingly irrational desire for Samsung's devices.
To achieve that goal, Lee was taking advantage of her experiences working for Lancome and L'Oreal. Instead of dwelling just on hardware specifications, like most non-Apple companies do, she wanted to make an emotional appeal. Just as makeup could be a "box of hopes or illusions," a smartphone could be a a symbol of a person's values.
"Nobody was talking about consumer languages," she claimed. "I saw the huge potential there."
The philosophy is already reflected in Samsung's Next Big Thing ads, which focus on the culture surrounding phones rather than Samsung's usual preference for talking about AMOLED screens and dual-core processors. The ads have helped establish some identity for Samsung, although they've also been criticized for being mean-spirited and portraying iPhone owners as too obsessed with launch lines and design looks despite wanting the very same reaction for the Galaxy S II.
How much success, if any, that it has in attracting followers may depend on the promised Super Bowl commercial. It's expected to be the culmination of the Next Big Thing ad campaign and Samsung's first attempt to pitch a mobile device at the gathering, where average prices for a 30-second spot have broken past $3.1 million dollars, according to Nielsen's 2011 data.
So far, technology ads during the Super Bowl have usually had little correlation to success in the market. Apple is well-known for its 1984 Macintosh ad, but the 1985 "lemmings" ad bombed in the marketplace. Motorola has also tried twice in a row to pitch Android devices with spots for the Droid Devour in 2010 and its Xoom tablet in 2011. Neither device caught on in significant form, and the Xoom ad unsuccessfully tried to make the same kind of anti-establishment appeal that Samsung is now trying in 2012.