I’ve been seeing these Samsung Galaxy SIII commercials for months now. You know, the one where two people “touch” phones and magically share stuff, like playlists or videos? The first spot (not included here,) made its debut just prior to the release of the iPhone 5, and poked some good fun at Apple and their devotees waiting on long lines for the next great phone offering. Samsung apparently has gotten good feedback from these spots, and they’ve rushed out several more.
Take a look:
And while I think they’re very good commercials (they each create a moment of drama centered around the product – that’s always good in advertising,) I’m just not sure it’s very good technology.
Let’s get this straight. We’ve packed supercomputer technology (no really, the average smartphone today has more actual digital technology in its main chip than NASA – all of it combined – had at its disposal to launch the Apollo rocket into space,) into a tiny wireless device that fits in your pocket and runs practically all day on one battery charge. With a smartphone, you can send a message – text, photo, video – INSTANTLY to your cousin in Kuala Lumpur (doesn’t everyone have a cousin there?) by pressing a few buttons. [And actually - unless your name is Blackberry - there are no buttons! It's just glass with pictures of buttons! ] With a smartphone, you can download music from the ether, and then listen to it in a matter of seconds. With a smartphone, you can play an interactive video game, along with three friends in three different cities, in real-time. And with these cooky add-ons called apps, you can harness vast amounts of neatly packaged information about whether or not your plane is on time, the history of nearly everything, how your stocks are doing and your absolute place in the world through a global positioning satellite.
So with ALL THAT technology literally and figuratively at your fingertips, are we supposed to be impressed that you can “touch” phones and share information? Is that really a big deal? Let me make it easy for you: no, it’s not a big deal at all.
In fact, it’s counterintuitive. For more on that, see my earlier post on Intuitive Marketing. Because the very essence of having a wireless device is to figuratively “connect” you to people who are NOT close to you. This idea of having to be in the same physical space as someone to enjoy the fullness of the phone is downright dopey. It’s cheap. It’s a throwaway feature that somehow got left in, and now Samsung is spending tens of millions of dollars trying to convince us how cool it is. It’s not cool to touch phones. Actually, I think it’s a little weird. What’s next? The Samsung Galaxy S4, now with WIRES to connect to every phone together?
Look in your own smartphone right now. I’ll wait. Of all your contacts, how many of them are within one square mile of where you are? Not many, right?
So let me be very clear here as to why this advertising is twisting my knickers. Samsung is essentially taking the LEAST useful, least helpful feature of their product and making it the MAIN focus of their advertising. It’s like BMW running a complete campaign for their latest luxury model and focusing on the idea that you can roll down the windows with this neat little bar that you can insert into the door and turn it over and over again until the window is down. Sure, the car’s got power windows that let you do that with the touch of a button, but LOOK! You can roll it down by hand if you want! Ugh.
Lesson for all marketers, big and small: be proud of your products, and celebrate them and their features through advertising. But go to the HIGHEST value of your product (not the most gimmick-ey,) and start there. Don’t beat us over the head with something that’s really not that important, or even really that cool, and then try to convince your audience that it is. That’s not just bad advertising. It’s bad business.
This article first appeared on Technorati.