updated 09:10 pm EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Galaxy S5 campaign pairs quotes from articles to show off features in best light
Samsung's most recent promotional ad, which has put together various pieces of praise for the Galaxy S5, turns out to be using cherry-picked lines from unflattering reviews written by various outlets about the phone. Calling the S5 "the next big thing" in the campaign, quotes from publications including Business Insider, Forbes, USA Today, Laptop, The Guardian, The New York Times and CNet were selected to show off the features of the phone. However, a report by Appleinsider points out some of the inconsistencies of the words used in the ad.
The ad starts off with a quote from Business Insider's Jillian D'Onfro, stating that "the Samsung Galaxy S5 does a lot of things that Apple's latest iPhone can't do." This quote actually spans two paragraphs, but omits words that basically devalue those features. Many of the articles quoted in the ad aren't actually reviews, but are hands-on or feature articles constructed without overall considerations of the device in mind. The New York Times quote actually came from a feature pitting the Galaxy S5 against the HTC One (M8).
The problem is that many of the quotes have been truncated or taken out of context from overall pieces that merely offered looks without criticism, based on Samsung's own press releases. While the advertisement doesn't specifically call out that the lines are from reviews, it does seem clear that the information has been picked specifically to paint the phone in the best light possible. This isn't an uncommon practice for companies, but reading the quotes in context can provide much different view on the phone.
For instance CNet's review by Jessica Dolcourt says that the "Samsung Galaxy S5 excels at everything that matters," but the quote stops there. The quote was pulled specifically from the good/bad block at the beginning of the review, but ignores the advice to skip the S5 if one doesn't like a plastic phone. To be fair, the phone was still given a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 by the publication.
A more troubling omission appears in regard to the quote from Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian. In his review, he said a few things about the Ultra Power Saving Mode, commenting that it delivers extended battery time that ends up "transforming the phone into a glorified feature phone." The ad cuts almost an entire paragraph away to remain with the first seven words, "the Ultra Power Saving Mode is really impressive." To Samsung's credit, we also thought that this feature was impressive in our review when pointing out the facts about the power-saving mode.
Most of the quotes used are done in a way that shows legitimate praise for the device, even though the end results of the reviews range from middle of the road to high praise. The context of using quotes in an ad is important, and as such customers should consider taking the entirety of the source when evaluating the product. By contrast, Apple (for example) relies strictly on published reviews, and tends to quote entire sentences -- or at least selections that reflect the actual context of the longer piece.