This is what a disillusioned Apple fan looks like.
Samsung's latest Apple spoof may be the most effective the company has ever created – not because it's the best made, but because the mood surrounding the reveal of the iPhone 5 was so sour this past week that the commercial seems less like satire and more like a documentary of actual Apple fans disillusioned by their former source of inspiration.
The style of the commercial is fundamentally the same as its always been: a group of shoppers camped out in front of the local Apple store are momentarily made aware of the Galaxy S3, making their own object of desire (the iPhone 5) look irrelevent by comparison.
The folks are trying, desperately, to feel excited about the newest member of the iPhone family, even though the updates made to the phone have been miniscule. "The headphone jack is going to be on the bottom," says one shopper, excitedly. "I heard the connector is all digital," exclaims another. It seems so silly that anyone would be excited about such minor, cosmetic changes, but Samsung has hit the nail on the head: this is exactly the way customers of the newest iPhone will likely attempt to rationalize their newest purchase.
Even more than the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 has been a disappointment. Since it wasn't meant to be simply an update, but a radical redesign, the hopes for a truly revolutionary device were high, at least among people who still believe Apple is capable of creating products that lead the market. In the end, the device proved lackluster, barely able to hold its own against flagship Android phones.
As Samsung has done in the past, they've dressed the folks waiting for the iPhone in the latest fashions, thus poking at the creative class's obsession with the newest Apple products. Samsung seems to be saying, "just because these folks think they're cool doesn't actually mean they know what's up," which might actually be a smart way for Android to market their products in the longer term. By pointing out the self-concious cluelessness of Apple customers, they set themselves apart as a genuinely innovative manufacturer.
But it's easier to tear something down than to build something up, which is why I find the actual clips of the Galaxy S3 in action less compelling than Samsung's witty satire about the folks waiting in line. In one instance, Samsung shows two people sharing playlists via NFC. I have never seen anyone do that, ever – and it doesn't look natural, even if it's a really cool feature. Don't get me wrong– I love NFC – but there are cooler features Samsung could have shared. When there are so many ways of sharing things –through WiFi or simply by clicking the "share playlist" button on Spotify, bumping phones doesn't make so much sense. More compelling arguments for buying the Galaxy S3 are emphasizing its bigger screen and Pop-Up play feature, both of which Samsung does. But it is consistently irritating that manufacturers don't highlight the Android OS, but rather the features they've added to it (some of which are unwanted). So it goes with a fragmented marketplace...
At the end of the clip, after seeing all the Galaxy S3 can do, one of the older gentlemen in line says, "we're going to get that [feature] right? Not this time, but the next time?" The question suggests that Apple is now playing catch-up to the rest of the industry. Many analysts would certainly agree that if Apple doesn't innovate, it could face a slow (VERY slow) fade into irrelevency.
In other words, Samsung has captured the current mood perfectly – and considering the ad has racked up over 73,00 views of the ad in the past day, it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks so.