After Samsung aggressively poked fun at Apple and their hardcore iPhone fanboys for the past few months through a series of ads for the Galaxy S II, I expected more of the same in their much-hyped Galaxy Note Super Bowl XLVI commercial. Instead, what we got was something… unexpected.
The 90-second ad aired at the top of the fourth quarter of the big game, which likely put a big dent in Samsung’s advertising funds for the year. After all, 30 seconds of air time during the 2012 Super Bowl went for $3.5 million on average. The first 30 seconds of this particular commercial starts out just like the others, showing a group iPhone fanboys waiting in line to purchase their next
smartphone iPhone. As boredom sets in, they suddenly spot a person on the street using a Samsung Galaxy Note. After expressing amazement, one character in line says, “It’s got a pen? This is awesome!” Then, for whatever reason, Samsung decided that’s all they needed to advertise about the phone. Absolutely no mention of the unique 5.3-inch screen size, 720p HD resolution, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 8 megapixel camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 4G LTE connectivity, or that it runs the Android OS. Just one generic line about the capacitive stylus that made it sound no better than resistive phones of the past that annoyingly required one for daily use. We, along with hardcore Android fans, know that the S Pen offers much more than that, but does the average consumer after watching the ad?
So what did Samsung do with the remaining 60 seconds of advertising? Busted out with song and dance, of course! Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness, appears out of thin air to sing the 2003 hit song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Random celebrities, like Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr, Chicago Bears defensive player Brian Urlacher and professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (P-Rod), appear briefly and out of place throughout the clip. It almost seemed like Samsung was trying to upstage Madonna’s halftime performance. After the commercial that aired tonight, I found myself asking, “what just happened?”
Was this ad worth the millions spent? Probably not, but it was Samsung’s first ever Super Bowl commercial and they were able to promote their mobile brand to a ridiculous amount of viewers tonight, especially since it was a close game between the New England Patriots and NY Giants at the time. Samsung tried to convey to viewers that they would want to leave their precious iPhone for the Galaxy Note. That seems unlikely due to the Note’s less than pocket-friendly form factor. It’s kind of shocking Samsung spent so much to market the Galaxy Note in the first place. I actually think it would have been more effective if Samsung followed their own strategy used in the previous Galaxy S2 ads – mock the iPhone, introduce the Galaxy Note by boasting about a feature or two, mock the iPhone again, and then close with comedy relief. That type of controversy would have at least led to a decent amount of water cooler talk at work the next day.