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Samsung marketing lead hopes to shake Apple's US 'obsession'

updated 03:25 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012

Samsung hopes to make irrational appeal in US

Samsung's marketing lead Younghee Lee outlined a different plan of attack for reaching the US in an interview published on Monday. She made clear to AllThingsD that Apple was the company's main target. Americans were "obsessed with Apple," she said, and her goal was to trigger that same, seemingly irrational desire for Samsung's devices.

To achieve that goal, Lee was taking advantage of her experiences working for Lancome and L'Oreal. Instead of dwelling just on hardware specifications, like most non-Apple companies do, she wanted to make an emotional appeal. Just as makeup could be a "box of hopes or illusions," a smartphone could be a a symbol of a person's values.

"Nobody was talking about consumer languages," she claimed. "I saw the huge potential there."

The philosophy is already reflected in Samsung's Next Big Thing ads, which focus on the culture surrounding phones rather than Samsung's usual preference for talking about AMOLED screens and dual-core processors. The ads have helped establish some identity for Samsung, although they've also been criticized for being mean-spirited and portraying iPhone owners as too obsessed with launch lines and design looks despite wanting the very same reaction for the Galaxy S II.

How much success, if any, that it has in attracting followers may depend on the promised Super Bowl commercial. It's expected to be the culmination of the Next Big Thing ad campaign and Samsung's first attempt to pitch a mobile device at the gathering, where average prices for a 30-second spot have broken past $3.1 million dollars, according to Nielsen's 2011 data.

So far, technology ads during the Super Bowl have usually had little correlation to success in the market. Apple is well-known for its 1984 Macintosh ad, but the 1985 "lemmings" ad bombed in the marketplace. Motorola has also tried twice in a row to pitch Android devices with spots for the Droid Devour in 2010 and its Xoom tablet in 2011. Neither device caught on in significant form, and the Xoom ad unsuccessfully tried to make the same kind of anti-establishment appeal that Samsung is now trying in 2012.

By Electronista Staff


  1. hassanpr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2004



    "her goal was to trigger that same, seemingly irrational desire for Samsung's devices." WHAT DEVICES ?? LOL Someone is doing drugs. Cocaine is a h*** of a drug

  1. worksafe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010



    I won't be buying anything from Samsung since they have'nt been able to design anything, rather they rip other peoples designs and technology off, just like Motorola with the Android Phone. Yes I would doubt Apple has done it to but not to the extent of the said companies in this comment.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    good luck with that

    it's not just the marketing,thought that is part of it. I would suggest that what Apple has is unique to Apple, and changing Samsung's message, while a step in the right direction (really, only engineers and geeks care about specs... not my mom or an average teenager or college student), isn't going to turn Samsung into Apple.

  1. gprovida

    Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 2006


    How to win customers - not

    Making fun of existing customers in ads is a sure fire way to make them flock to your products. Follow this by continuing to abandon existing customers on your devices if they want an OS update within 6-10 months of buying the product. Apple earned its success based on customer value, service, and attention to design detail. Samsung has not such record, it builds good products at cheap prices. Copying Apple does not a passion build.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    My irrational desire?!!

    Yes, as an American, I'm often driven to seemingly irrational desires. Why just yesterday I seemed to irrationally purchase a loaf of bread...when with more forethought, a box of saltine crackers would have made more sense.

    I'm moving to Korea to get my head straight!


  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    Samsung will also..

    have to rid themselves of stupid, uninteresting names like Galaxy II, etc. And why not limit the number of phones they have too. When Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive are concerned about even the packaging, Sameoldsong has a lot of catching up to do.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Stupid bee-atch

    Samsung might start by not insulting their target market. What these dumb foreigners don't seem to understand is that Apple is an almost mythological part of the fabric of modern American technological culture. Like the once great Hewlett-Packard, Apple was also started by two enterprising young men in their garage. Apple exemplifies the American dream and the belief that anything is possible and that ingenuity and resourcefulness can be rewarded. The idea that Samsung can supplant Apple is as insulting as the suggestion that Studio Ghibli should rightfully displace Disney in American society. Apple never imitated anyone, they are true originals. Samsung could never lay claim to the same statement.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Saying it does not make it true

    Orphaned products, poor customer support, plastic devices,, poor ecosystem, no history of innovation, reputation for only chasing the next buck and not being able to make tough design choices despite pressures from tech writers. They have a long way to go to mimic Apple in meaningful way.

  1. rmansfield

    Junior Member

    Joined: Oct 2000


    Samsung wishes they were as popular

    Samsung can make fun of folks who buy Apple gear all they want. Truth is they'd love to have people line up for their stuff—but they don't.

  1. Samuel Smada

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2012


    Sorry Samsung

    I can't wait till SamsDung becomes my personal symbol of values - Not!

    Americans obsessed with SamsDung devices would be an irrational desire.

    Sorry if I was a little mean-spirited SamsDung.

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