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2/6/2012
10:51 AM
Eric Zeman
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How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad

Call it the stylus snafu: Samsung's over-the-top Super Bowl commercial failed to resonate with viewers and earned widespread mocking on Twitter. Here's why.

I always love to watch the commercials during the Super Bowl. They are often humorous and typically play into all sorts of stereotypes about Americans and life in America. This year, I felt many of the ads missed the mark a bit (really, GoDaddy?), though there were a few gems to be sure (Acura NSX + Jerry Seinfeld + Jay Leno = win).

But let's talk about Samsung for a few moments. It hired Bobby Farrelly--one of the directors behind "There's Something About Mary" and other comedies--and threw in a bunch of below C-level talent to hawk the Galaxy Note, the "phablet" (part smartphone, part tablet) it is selling via AT&T later this month.

The ad starts out like much of the other recent anti-iPhone commercials from Samsung, poking fun at the mindless Appleheads waiting in line to buy some unmentioned product. "This feels like detention," quips one of the people waiting in line.

[ What's the real point of Apple's highly restricted app store approach? See Apple's Walled Garden: Sledgehammer Needed. ]

Then, some guy walks past with a Galaxy Note and uses the included stylus to draw a circle on the screen while he's taking a picture. This gets the attention of the Appleheads. "What's that?!?" they exclaim. The Galaxy Note owner hands it to the people waiting in line, and they are stunned by the device. One of the onlookers says, "I don't know what I believe any more," implying that her faith in Apple has been shaken. Her friend says, "I know what I believe."

And that's when the commercials goes into full Super Bowl mode.

The Darkness' Justin Hawkins, in full pink-and-white striped body suit, breaks into the band's only hit, "I Believe In A Thing Called Love." Bring on the marching band, the gospel choir, the stunt BMX bikes, a random football star, the flash block party, and everyone singing and dancing to The Darkness' only memorable tune--and you have a Super Bowl commercial.

The commercial aired during the fourth quarter, and caught the attention of the Twitterverse. Here's some of the reaction from the tech-using-public-at-large:

Since when did having a #stylus become a selling point?

I thought the #stylus died with the #Palm.

How was that Samsung commercial supposed to encourage phone sales? #stylus

The Palm Pilot commercial was pretty good. #stylus

Not so sure about the #Stylus. The distraction of the bright colors and sounds hasn't made me forget it's there.

Yeah, @Samsung, that's what I want, a #stylus.

Somehow The Darkness was not the most out of date element of that Samsung ad #stylus

So, the future is 90s technology? #stylus

One of the great things about the #iPhone was abandoning the #stylus. Not sure why #samsung thinks bring it back is #innovation and #freedom

You get the point. Before the game was over, "stylus" and "palmpilot" were trending on Twitter. Beyond the pomp and circumstance of the commercial itself (which I happened to find entertaining, by the way), Samsung used it to pitch a use scenario that companies have purposely moved away from over the last five years.

What did Palm do with webOS compared to PalmOS? It ditched the stylus. What did Microsoft do with Windows Phone 7 compared to Windows Mobile? It ditched the stylus. Apple designed iOS and the iPhone so that it could be used without a stylus.

I think it is safe to say that most people don't miss using a stylus. While the stylus and Samsung's related software on the Galaxy Note do add some interesting features to the Note, it's not a selling point that I would have advertised. Instead, Samsung should have called out the big screen, the ability to play HD movies, the fast LTE 4G, and other features.

Instead, it became the butt of jokes across Twitter.

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YMOM100
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YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2012 | 6:15:30 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
There are people who like a stylus better than the finger. And given the screen size of phones the landing areas need to be finger sized at least, with a stylus the landing zones can be smaller. Also, the stylus is thinner than a finger, so it is less in the way.
The biggest disadvantage is losing the stylus and having to buy a new one for 9.99$ plus S+H.
herman_munster
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herman_munster,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/9/2012 | 8:20:23 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
I don't think it was a mistake. Offering a device that allows for the expected touch interface as well as the use of a fine point stylus is something that, in my mind, should be welcomed.

No, the stylus is not required to interact with the touch interface. It's there to present the user with a means for advancing their usage of their touch device. What do I mean by this? Try using your iPad as a notepad in a meeting. You will either wind up drawing your notes with your finger, winding up with huge block letters, or using the touch keyboard and limiting your ability to take notes as productively as you could with a paper notepad. That's a huge short coming for iOS devices in business.

Enter this device and all of a sudden you can write as finely as you do with a pen and even control the thickness of the line your stylus makes. When you're out of your note app, you use your fingers to navigate through the UI just like with all other devices with a touch baed UI.

Why do you think this is a bad thing? Have you interacted with this device for review purposes? It sounds more like a lot of people saw this commercial and made some fairly broad assumptions.

Mark my words, OP, it wont be long before you see styluses included with tablets (or sold as an extra) that allow users to write normally in a note app. This Samsung device is just the beginning. Soon enough even iOS will get an update that allows users to use an after market stylus to jot notes in a reasonable and effective way. That might be a really good topic to explore in future articles. I would certainly read them.
EVVJSK
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EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/9/2012 | 4:31:28 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
I would ask "Does a Painter need a Brush" ? To further the analogy, the Painter may not need a brush if he is a house painter (he or she could use their hands or a roller or something else UNLESS they wanted to do something fine (in the case of Davinci) and then a brush comes in pretty handy. Can we PLEASE QUIT WITH THE ONE SIZE FITS ALL MENTATLITY THAT MANY PEOPLE CURRENTLY HAVE !
Aden11
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Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/8/2012 | 8:44:22 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
You claim whatever you like to claim the fact of the matter is their galaxy line phones are copy and paste. And before defending Samsung, take a look at Nokia's new toy and then read my comment. Perhaps then you will understand my point.
JBinNZ
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JBinNZ,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/8/2012 | 2:07:37 AM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
Samsung is one of the most advanced technology companies whereas Apple is just a design company. I think all Apple patents are related to their design and software which also related to specific jestures or how they look (design)

Using their absurd patents, see also multiple design patents that have never eventuated like the one registered in EU to go against Samsung GT, what they are trying to do is monopoly. Wake up man. You would never benefit from this unless you are a shareholder of Apple.

By the way, my wife is using this Galaxy Note almost 3 months and I can tell you that this shit is the best smartphone on the market. I am getting so tired and bored with my 3.5inch phone.

Wake up man, Samsung is no longer Samesung that you want to portrait to be.
JBinNZ
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JBinNZ,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/8/2012 | 1:26:41 AM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
I bought a white GN for my wife almost 3 month ago. This is THE best smartphone available on the market. 5.3inch Super Amoled full hd resolution display with top specs inside. end of story really
TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/7/2012 | 10:13:41 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
Whether the stylus is useful or not is beside the point. The commercial didn't work as well as some, e.g., Elton John for Pepsi, little Darth Vader for VW (last year), because it did not create a positive buzz for the company. If the biggest Twitter trend for your commercial is something that is *mocking* your ad, your ad didn't work.
I found the over-the-top marching band / BMX bike / gospel choir to be kinda entertaining, like some of the Ford Fiesta commercials. If they had emphasized other product features, like the screen and HD playback, and said something like, "and when you need it, you can point with something smaller than your finger" they might have avoided the mockery.
Aden11
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Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/7/2012 | 9:13:14 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
Eric, it's Samsung. What else you expect from them? Their whole philosophy is based on cut and paste. They should learn from Nokia to come up with different and elegant design rather then cutting and pasting iPhone with 10 different screen sizes.
jso
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jso,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/7/2012 | 4:52:57 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
The people making fun of this are idiots. If they would have done the work, they they would know you can do so much more with that stylus than what the Palm was for. Why would you even concentrate on those people? Focus on the ones that think this phone rocks. And as far as the iPhone, please, Apple is so overrated. It's sickening. First of all, all these people in the US are complaining about the economy and unemployement but yet they go out and support Apple who has 700,000 jobs in China instead of the US. It's time to teach Apple that there is no "i" in "WE the People". At least Samsung has more Americans working for them in the US than Apple. Finally, the Samsung Note is really going to be a huge competition. Read the real blogs out there. Find out the real facts.
bartio06
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bartio06,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/7/2012 | 4:28:21 PM
re: How Samsung Screwed Up Its Super Bowl Ad
Comparing this to old Windows and Palm phones is a very biased or an uninformed rant. This device can replace an iPad like device, the phone and the laptop too in some situations. I would use this in class/meetings to jot notes using the stylus. You always cannot type as fast as you can draw quick words and figures using a stylus.
I go to Grad school in evenings and sometimes could use a device like this to read some pdf materials while at the gym which is usually hard to read on a 4-inch screen.
I used to own the Dell Streak 5 but had to sell it after a week due to the poor camera in it. The form factor was great though. I think the 5.5" screen in the Note would be a great replacement over my Galaxy SII.
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