Apple marketing video vs. Samsung – the challenges of market leadership.

Market leadership is fleeting…

Apple sells a premium product in the smart phone category that commands a high margin. Samsung doesn’t… yet.  In order to maintain its leadership position Apple has to continue to innovate and it has to continue to reinforce it’s brand leadership with premium quality promotions. So far, so good.

If you want to be a market leader then everything you do has to be best-in-class.  Consider two recent promotions by Apple and Samsung:

In one, Apple delivers a high quality, authentic and emotive film that supports Apple’s leadership position. This holiday season promotion delivers a strong visual narrative, a clever twist in the story and a nice emotional tug at the end. Understated and beautifully made, it’s everything you’d expect from a market leader:

…and then there’s Samsung’s newest video. It’s difficult to tell whether Samsung was actually going for ‘campy awkward’ or they simply have no idea what good is. Or, perhaps they do, and they actually understand their audience much better than we think.


I don’t believe Samsung is clever enough for this degree of awkwardness (I’d give it a ‘9.3’) to be intentional. (I also don’t believe Coke’s ‘New Coke’ calamity a few decades back was intentional either…) This is likely just one of Samsung’s many independent business units not being sophisticated enough to understand what great (or even good) is.

Will this hurt Samsung – not likely. The advantage of not being the leader is that your mistakes are quickly forgotten. Apple, on the other hand, has a very narrow margin for error. We’re all just waiting for them to slip up, then we attack. We love and hate our leaders in equal measure.

So while Apple continues its run as the world’s Über-cool brand, Samsung is starting to make a run – but they still have a long way to go.


Takeaway:  If you want to be the market leader you have to act like one.



5 Responses

  1. Yeah.
    I got your point. As I see it, Samsung’s video is dry and so mechanic with no emotion alive. It simply performs technological features while Apple is trying to reach emotional level.

  2. Apple are great marketers, the samsung one is pretty cheesy and misses the mark. I would differ entirely when you say Apple is a cool brand. In my opinion they are worse than the IBM / Microsoft big brothers they were mocking in the 80’s… control freaks, closed systems, exclusive snobbery, pretentious, style-over-content… For me Apple are a brand that people buy because Apple have marketed themselves so well as a top product. They have not been that for many years.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Mark. We could quibble about whether Apple is still the coolest kid in the class but from a branding perspective they are industry leaders (IMHO). Like Samsung, Microsoft continues to stumble in their promotional execution. I do agree with your assessment regarding pretentiousness and snobbery… that’s what premium brands do. You may not like it but that’s how they separate themselves from the pack and that’s why people buy their products at a premium price – because those products have the cache of being the best and coolest products on the market. Still not sure if we are violently agreeing… or not.

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