'The Next Big Thing' isn't iPhone 5
Samsung has revived its "The Next Big Thing is Already Here" marketing campaign with new videos, one of which posted about an hour ago to YouTube. Like its predecessors, the 90-second spot mocks people waiting in line to buy iPhone, something going on right now at Apple Stores around the globe. Doors open at 8 am local time on September 21 for iPhone 5's official launch.
The South Korean electronics giant started the ad campaign in November 2011, following release of iPhone 4S. This year, the commercials come first and are sure to continue afterwards. This spot carries forward the storyline for at least one character -- that is for anyone who has watched the series. It's clever storytelling for advertising.
In the original spot, a guy with glasses and cap had the choice line, calling a friend claiming to be artistic a "barista". In a later commercial, cap guy switches to Samsung Galaxy S III from iPhone. He's in the new spot waiting for iPhone 5. "Welcome back", one line waiter says. Another: "Guess that Galaxy S III didn't work out". Oh, but it did. He still has the phone. "I'm just saving a spot in line for someone". The someone is one of the best marketing punchlines I've seen in years and sears sterotypes about who wants iPhone 5.
Some of the best advertising is about you and how product X, Y or Z makes your life better. It's part of the allure of Apple nomenclature, by the way -- the "i" products. You read iPad, iPhone or iPod but the connotation is something bigger: I, the capital letter. When I stands alone it is capitalized and refers to you, the subject. You read iPhone but really say IPhone as in my phone. Subliminal connotations have emotional hooks that, whether people want to admit it or not, impact buying decisions. Ask yourself: How often do you buy something ultimately because it feels right?
Samsung takes a different aspirational approach, by stripping back "i" product allure, and the idea that life will be better for buying iPhone. Surely it's not better waiting in line. "They should have a priority line for people who waited five times", one guy wearing sunglasses quips.
"This year we're finally getting everything we didn't get last year", says someone referring to iPhone 4S. Like big screen, but, uh-oh, someone points out S3's is bigger. Faster data. "We've had that for awhile", says a S3 user. The commercial calls out iPhone 5's dock connector change, other shortcomings and additional Galaxy S III benefits -- all while slapping around the iPhone hipster set. It's great fun.
Later videos released earlier this year lost some of the originals' charm, with "The Thing called Love" high among the stinkers. The new 90-second spot revives what made the first commercials appealing.
Samsung needs the appeal-factor, and not just because of iPhone 5. Following Samsung's loss in the court case against Apple last month here in California, Samsung's brand image is tarnished. The campaign, and complaints iPhone 5 isn't as revolutionary as some people expected or simply catches up to other handsets, is more important now than in 2011.
And the commercials were effective last year. In the weeks following the ad campaign's start, Samsung perceptions rose above iPhone in the United States, according to YouGov BrandIndex.