Feb 06 AT 5:23 PM Dustin Earley 63 Comments

How Samsung’s Super Bowl ad should have been


Samsung, have you learned nothing from the past couple years worth of advertising failures? You could have done so much with your Super Bowl ad, but you didn’t. You did nothing but brag about a stylus, and make fun of one of your main competitor’s customers. Samsung blew a monstrous opportunity yesterday to show off why people all over the world love the Galaxy Note.

What they did

The first thirty seconds of Samsung’s Super Bowl ad are dedicated to showing people standing in line complaining. With one of the few product related dialogue lines during that thirty seconds being, “It’s the new Samsung Galaxy Note, It’s got a pen?!”

The next minute is dedicated to an old song from The Darkness, and who knows how many thousands of dollars worth of dancing and stunts. Oh, and some people are using the Note’s camera.

The end of the 90 second commercial shows the Note, with a coming soon sign right next to Best Buy’s logo.

If you had never heard of the Galaxy Note, what would you assume it is? A tablet with a stylus? That has a camera? Are either of those features compelling enough to drive the average consumer to investigate? Or will they be busy talking about how they used to have a Palm Pilot with a stylus?

It looks likes Samsung may have left consumers with more questions than answers. And nothing compelling enough to push them to find out more.

What they should have done

The Galaxy Note doesn’t just feature a stylus. The Note’s S Pen is paired with a Wacom brand digitizer. A brand recognized by millions upon millions of professionals in all sorts of media and art related industries. Samsung really should have shown that off.

They should have talked about how fluid using the S Pen is. And how it’s nothing like the styluses of yesteryear. They should have shown off how it’s pressure sensitive, all the different brush strokes you can use, and the different applications the S Pen works with.

Then, they should have mentioned how the large ultra crisp display is excellent for viewing and editing photos and video. A perfect compliment to the level of detail the S Pen is capable of.

Oh, and about that display. They need to make sure everyone knows about the rigorous testing done to make sure it was just the right size. Perfect for the Samsung exclusive technology built into the Note. Great for reading books and watching movies. Just big enough to give you a roomy tablet-like experience. Yet still small enough to use as a phone. Because you know, the Note is a phone after all.

Samsung could have done a lot with their Super Bowl ad. But they did practically nothing. Maybe next year?

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Stian Jacobsen

    Well, after using the Note for a day i found out that the pen is not all that “fluid”.. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like it’s lagging.

    • http://www.ndroidgamers.com B2L

      You may need to calibrate it, there shouldn’t be any noticeable lag. Mine was the same way until I calibrated it.

    • rojo623

      Why do people downvote comments like this? It honest, and he’s not being a troll. We android fans need to be able to accept weaknesses as room for improvement.

  • Schmidty850

    I feel as if they did indeed blow their ad opprotunity. I was completely hyped to see what creative things Samsung would do with their 90 seconds. I was really disapointed as I know most where.

    • Jeff Pan

      They should have done better!

    • Jon Garrett

      Patriots lost so the Samsung commercial was the only thing I enjoyed about that game.

    • leganzish

      I completely agree. I was really disappointed by it. I think their campaign mocking Apple fans has been brilliant. A super bowl commercial would have been a great way to cap that off and really make people look into the note and Samsung’s mobile products in general. Instead they just fell into the stereotypical things marketing types think people want in a SB commercial. Too much fluff, not enough compelling points. Waste of probably close to 10 mil.

  • AK

    Hmmm, I wonder if the Singer’s Magenta outfit and guitar case were a coincidence :)

  • Ryan Clayton

    Haha…I didn’t even know the Note was a phone…I thought it was just a mini-tablet with 3G (or 4G) for data.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    So true. They didn’t even give anyone a real reason to be interested in the device. I understand they want music and fanfare and all that jazz, but a commercial for a tech product should at least mention ONE spec, I mean c’mon.

    But whatever, its Samsung’s money, not mine.

    • bruce080

      NO, not whatever!

      How come Apple can make commercials that get even me, and avid apple hater, excited about their products, when Samsung can’t even get me excited about a phone that I want?

      • bruce080


      • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

        That’s because they don’t even read their own product’s name — Galaxy “NOTE”. The whole point of creating this product is about “note-taking”. What they should have done is to feature note taking in the smartphone age, and why it’s not just about writing something onto a phone screen.

      • delinear

        Agreed, I’d never buy an Apple product because I disagree with their closed-market approach, but I think their ads (the current ones that are just a voice-over with big focus on the product and some of the clever things you can do) work really well.

        Since I know for a fact I can do a LOT more with my Android than an iPhone user can do with their device (since my GF had an iPhone for 18 months and was always complaining about what it couldn’t do), a similar ad for the Note would have worked really well.

        It looks great, show people how great it looks instead of tiny, fast glimpses of it being held by people dancing around.

        The stylus is actually pretty clever, you/ve got 90 seconds, spend more than 1 second talking about it and showing what advantages it has over other touchscreens.

        Show some of the amazing apps and the freedom of choice that comes with an Android device, and how well this stuff all works on a phone with a great spec and a large screen that looks great.

        These are the things we want to see. Not some people dancing to a song from a band that had its moment almost a decade ago and a snide attack on Apple customers (after all, Samsung want them to become Samsung customers). Overall it’s good to see any advertising for Android devices in the mainstream, but focus more on the OS and the product and less on the competition or trying to be trendy.

      • pjax

        Android lover here too

        but that Siri commercial is absolutely LOVELY. Simple, honest, touching.

        We’re doing this not to bash Samsung, but to give feedback. Samsung, the marketing company you hired SUCKS SO BAD. Ditch them NOW!

      • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

        I just didn’t want to sound like I was bitching when I don’t really have the right to. I mean I don’t really care about the Apple vs Android war, as long as Android is around and doesn’t die out (i.e. webOS) and keeps innovating, I don’t give a crap what Apple does and how many people buy their stuff. As long as I get what I want (in Android that is), I don’t care about market share and what not.

        So that being said, yes I’d like to see a better ad. That might be because I was a student of business (and actually back in school… it sucks) and it actually bothers me to see companies spend lots of money on a bad commercial. Especially the kind no one actually remembers what the product was, just what happened in the ad. I actually somewhat boycott companies that have terrible commercials, but that’s just me and I know not everyone shares that emotion. The way I see it, if a company has a stupid enough head of whatever department to sign off on a bad, bad, terrible commercial, then why should I buy their product and support their business? It’s obviously being run by idiots… of course that’s stretching it, but I hope you get my point.

        /end rant

  • greeny42

    It seemed they also expected the viewer to have seen their other related ads. It incorporated some of the same characters and past scenarios. That makes it even worse because their extra long 90 second commercial cannot be fully enjoyed as a stand alone ad. Could have done better.

  • AsakuraZero

    and this show how hype becomes a flop samsung should learn more about marketing, i just hope that Gnote sales doesnt go to hell thanks to this.

    this like this and the slow updates of samsung that really keeps me thinking about which is going to be my next phone.

    its not all about specs…

  • DerekV

    I heard someone talking about the commercial this morning, and they said, “Ooh, it’s got a pen. Didn’t we already do that, and wasn’t it called a PDA?”

    Very sad that they missed their opportunity to educate consumers and show them how they are different and not just trying to re-hash old technology.

    Plus, the Apple-bashing wasn’t even funny. What happened to their “We just got Samsunged” line? Bad marketing, in my opinion.

  • spazby

    It ended up being a disappointing ad…

  • 00quantameister

    I rather enjoyed it. If you payed attention to the ad? Samsung showed off several features. They showed off the stylus, the map function, the photo taking, the video calls, & the dual camera setup. Besides, you can never go wrong with The Darkness “I Believe In a Thing Called Love.”

    With Super Bowl commercial, you have to take some risks. It wasn’t as dumb as other Super Bowl commercials & it did pretty good on some websites ranking the commercial by visitors. I had feedback on Facebook of people remembering the commercial because of the catchy “Darkness” track.

    If the commercial was such a flop? Why does it have 495,015 views on Samsung Mobile USA’s YouTube channel & over 2,470 likes? Doesn’t sound like a flop to me. Besides, Miranda Kerr was in it. Nothing wrong with that.

    • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

      I agree with you 100% I liked the commercial and thought it was clever how they incorporated the features so seamlessly. They didn’t want to have a boring infomercial, throwing out a bunch of specs that most people won’t understand. They featured the camera, a big screen, stylus pen, and people having fun!

      I also like how they went from the first 30 seconds of it continuing from the previous ads and then suddenly jumping into a crazy all out over the top song/dance/action sequence. I still have that song stuck in my head today.

    • pjax

      Map and photo taking, has been on all our phones since day one
      video calling came on day too. And now it’s on all our phones

      having a thousand likes is irrelevant if it also has a thousand dislikes. There’s like 70% likes and 30% dislike. Not good for a Youtube video

  • Hall Lo

    Let’s just say our expectation was too high. But when my friends saw the ad they thought its a PDA and had no interested in it at all. Sammy needs to have their marketing team renovated.

  • Bryan Stoner

    This ad is like a Transformer movie, it’s just fun ;)

    Samsung is going to have a difficult time though. I feel as if a good chunk of consumers will think, “Why would I need a screen that big?”, “A pen? What would I ever use that for?”. And by doing this commercial they certainly did not give a good reason as to WHY. But you know, a techy like myself is all over this!! I think it’s a wonderful idea!! XDD

    • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

      Of all Android manufacturers, Samsung is the only one (at this moment) that could launch a device like the Note. The truth is I didn’t enjoy this Superbowl commercial like the first anti-Apple commercial that Samsung released. I think the thing they had in mind was to create an easy, but somehow glamorous commercial. The majority of people that watch TV are not geeks or nerds, they are normal people that need an incentive like this to think about a product. I personally don’t like it because it’s not nerdy enough, but I hope it will be the last “The next big thing is already here” commercial I see. They need to rethink the basic idea.

  • Gabe

    You will never be hired for a real marketing job; your recommendations are like the sensationalism on Fox News: ridiculous. Its a superbowl commercial, not an ad for a tech blogger convention. Lol

  • Vance

    As a consumer who hates being treated like an idiot, I too get annoyed with commercials for any product which intentionally avoids telling me ANYTHING about said product. Many car commercials are notorious for this. I think they showed the shot of the maps app with a location circled and time written by the pen 2 or 3 times. That’s a fail. By all means: dance, play a great song, have a party with your brilliant new devices, but incorporate more shots of differentiating features, that’s all.
    The other thing to remember is who they are targeting. The opening thirty seconds answers that: confused iPhone owners who are finally starting to see the light that there aren’t just “look-a-likes” out there; there are FAR superior options. So they are marketing to iPhone owners and would-be iPhone owners who, traditionally, aren’t real spec whores (if they were they wouldn’t be iPhone owners)… traditionally you could argue that they’re more into whats “cool” and so in that respect I can see where Samsung may have “nailed it”.

    • KC Chalk

      I don’t think you understand the purpose of Samsung’s advertising campaign. Samsung is trying to change public opinion of Apple from cool to ordinary. Apple dose not sell on price or specs, nor should samsung. People buy things that fill in an imagined view of the person they think they are or want to be. Apple has understood this for some time, which is why they never talk about specs in their adds. Instead Apple talks about how their product is going to enrich your life. This strategy has worked well for Apple; it is why they can sell comotity products at premium prices. Samsung’s advertising campaign is turning Apple’s marketing strategy on its head and using it to counter Apple strong brand imag —it is a brilant idea. And one, I whish I thought of when my firm piched Samsung. Don’t degrade your blog by talking about things you know nothing about.

    • fecat17

      Excellent comment Vance. Finally a common sense approach to the obvious. IPhone users are true to the nick name “isheep”
      (I did not say mention isheep to be mean. My teenage son has an iPhone, music and ease of use. I have a Galaxy Note…. I’m way more techy than he is.)

    • delinear

      There seems to be an assumption amongst most of the iPhone users I’ve known that Android is somehow hard to use, not user friendly, or that it’s lacking features. The iPhone ads do a good job of showing tight focus on the product and two or three really useful features. It’s that kind of ad that will get iPhone users to switch to Android – they need to know that it’s not hard to use, that they can do just as much (even more in fact) with an Android, that the device looks just as good, etc.

      This ad feels like a smoke and mirrors thing, i.e. after the first 30 seconds where they get people to notice the phone they suddenly switch to a “don’t look at the product, look at these guys dancing, and look, some guy firing out of a cannon, DON’T LOOK AT THE PRODUCT” approach. It almost feels like they’re embarassed by it and are trying to draw attention away from it, which is ridiculous, it’s such a fantastic phone it should have been the centre of attention the whole 90 seconds.

  • jordanfritzsche

    Honestly, the first thing I thought about when I first saw Justin Hawkins was, wait….. the Note’s coming to T-Mobile?

    But seriously the first commercial dig at iPhone users by Samsung was funny, but you shouldn’t make a marketing campaign out of it. Pointing out how dumb you think another company is does nothing for promoting your business and products.

    It cost $3.5 million per 30 seconds, so this commercial was about $11 million dollars to air, there is so much more that Samsung could have done to reach new customers and Dustin got the ball rolling in the article.

  • professandobey

    At least this is less disappointing than the Motorola Xoom commercial from last year’s Superbowl. In one regard, the commercial worked because plenty of people are still talking about it. In fact, it seems they went over the top just to get people talking about whether they went over the top.

  • pjamies

    I agree on both accounts/sides ..
    This was a Superbowl commercial .. and as such should be treated as a fun-loving brainless bit of commercial trivia about a new/upcoming product ..
    That being said, you do need to add enough information as to make your product mean something to its intended customer demographic ..
    This commercial only seems to portray the brainless fun side of the product, and even that side was badly told/displayed …
    Oh well, let’s hope that word of mouth does a better job of selling this phone than its commercial brother …

  • http://www.polarpattern.com Bryan

    I suppose it’s not all that surprising. Considering the ad that’s been running for the Galaxy Nexus, I’d say this was ok.

  • smeghead68

    What a waste of good ad space.

  • bd1212

    This article is 110% correct. Samsung wasted $10 million on a stupid, annoying ad that showed literally nothing about the actual phone or explain any of its features.

    • KC Chalk

      I think you need to better understand Samsung’s motivation. The add worked.

  • KC Chalk

    I don’t think you understand the purpose of Samsung’s advertising campaign. Samsung is trying to change public opinion of Apple from cool to ordinary. Apple dose not sell on price or specs, nor should samsung. People buy things that fill in an imagined view of the person they think they are or want to be. Apple has understood this for some time, which is why they never talk about specs in their adds. Instead Apple talks about how their product is going to enrich your life. This strategy has worked well for Apple; it is why they can sell comotity products at premium prices. Samsung’s advertising campaign is turning Apple’s marketing strategy on its head and using it to counter Apple strong brand imag —it is a brilant idea. And one, I whish I thought of when my firm piched Samsung. Don’t degrade your blog by talking about things you know nothing about.

    • laughlin

      Dude, I don’t think you understand Apple’s marketing strategy. They don’t “talk about how their product is going to enrich your life.” They run the camera up to the phone, put it through its paces, and then you know how it is going to enrich your life. They don’t waste 90% of their air time with a bunch of morons running around looking like they just had a Ritalin enema.

      You know how this ad worked? It actually made the Note, which I have been lusting after for several months, look uncool. Whoever was behind this campaign should be taken out back and put down.

      • KC Chalk

        Ok, so the morons running around in the street was stupid. But I was talking about samsung’s broader campaign. So my first point still stands. Samsung should not tote specs and price in their adds and Apple’s strategy works. With only three models, apple is the largest single manufacture of smart phones, and their profit from sales last quarter accounted four nearly 60% profit earned in the smart phone sector. They didn’t achieve these results by making a better product…it was their marketing strategy.

        • delinear

          You are right that Apple don’t tote specs and price but they DO have a big focus on A) the features of the phone and B) how easy those features are to use for regular users. That’s what was really missing here. They need to be talking to people like my parents who think using a phone is actually much harder than it really is and this airtime would have been the perfect opportunity to show off a jaw dropping product. Instead, most people just seem to be lefting asking “…what?”

      • KC Chalk

        “They run the camera up to the phone, put it through its paces, and then you know how it is going to enrich your life.”

        Exactly! In some adds Apple shows you how the product will enrich your life. In others they talk how the product will enrich your life. The strategy is the same regardless of vehicle used to make the point.

  • Max.Steel

    Us Android “nerds” only make up a very small fraction. The more mainstream people don’t really care about specs the way we do.

    • KC Chalk

      Spot on. Samsung needs to target their brand to the broder market.

  • PaulieG

    I agree with your comments, as a Note owner I couldn’t see a single thing in the ad that made me proud of my device, and I am a very proud Note fan! The ad was pointless in every aspect, vague and ridiculous. I’m not sure Samsung are totally to blame though. Generally these things get dreamed up by some arty film type who sell some fan dangled concept to the manufacturer. Samsung are at fault for buying into it though.. It was grandiose for no other reason than the sake of it with little much else to gleam as intelligible content. What a big waste of time and money Samsung. You have an awesome product that is fortunately selling itself, cause your marketing efforts for it so far SUCKS BALLS!! I’m starting to wonder if they even understand why it is so popular with consumers? Apple are probably pissing themselves laughing at the embarrassing marketing effort, and I wouldn’t blame them! If theres one point I’ll ever give Apple as credit, their marketing department could make ice look new and exciting to the Eskimo’s..

  • Jmurder209

    I think Samsung did just fine, they did enough to peak peoples interest. All while poking fun at Apple & the iPhone 4s. Now it’s up to the consumer to look up the device online or on YouTube to find out the rest of the specs or the capabilities of the smartphone? I for one have been waiting for this super smartphone to come out in the US since it came out a few months ago in Europe? Also, what did you expect it was a Super Bowl commercial after all & we all know Super Bowl commercials tend to go over the top. So stop bitching!! You all know this is going to be by far thee best smartphone on the market

  • jsweetser2

    yea, pretty much at the end of the commercial, i looked at my girlfriend and said, “Do you have any idea what that ad was about?” (Of course i did because i read androidandme) and she said, “not really”.


  • Franklin

    I admit it; I’m an Apple fanboy who is spoiled by Apple’s great marketing and products, but hear me out.

    This Samsung commercial lacked a clear objective.
    1. Were they trying to get me to dance?
    2. Were they trying to show me how to use a pen on their device? Who does that anymore?
    3. Were they trying to show me how foolish am I in getting the best selling device in the market?

    I left Samsung’s 90 second commercial confused.

    Creativity is great, but Samsung, please make clearly defined commercials that highlight the strengths of your products like Apple does. This would have the most appeal to me.

    Apple was creative in their Santa Claus Siri commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qcmCUsw4EQ), but in just 30 seconds (not 90), you leave the commercial being impressed with Siri and wanting to buy the iPhone 4S.

    Samsung, if I want, I can dance with my iPhone, too. So what?

    • Franklin

      Okay. I also admit that Apple did make an iPod Touch commercial that involved dancing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGrDMVk2isc), but in merely 30 seconds (not 90), you learn more about Apple’s product than you do about Samsung’s new thingamajigger.

    • PaulieG

      Just coz Steve said devices don’t need a stylus anymore doesn’t make it gospel.. Steve also said computers no longer needed cursor keys either once the GUI and mouse came along.. Have a glance down at your Mac.. See those little arrow keys? Steve was more often wrong than right with his peculiar beliefs..

  • Gary

    People are discussing… the commercial has worked perfectly.

    • pjax

      Not if it’s getting bad reps!

      That’s like saying Rick Perry’s “Strong” commercial is working even though it’s got 99% dislikes.

  • cb2000a

    The commercial was okay…but the one I liked was the dog and Volkswagon.

  • nop

    Caught up on the pen digitizer? I’m fairly certain millions of people couldn’t care less about that. Please tell me you aren’t planning on a career in marketing.

  • easybucketz

    I think that y’all are all missing the point. Samsung knows that no matter how many cool features they show off that iPhone users will still be stupid & naive and still buy an iPhone. if people bought phones solely off of features no one would buy a iPhone. Because all top of the line Androids beat the iPhone in features. So why not make fun of them and their naive ways it’s not hurting Samsung since their numbers keep going up. It’s funny laugh and move on. Does 90% of the commercials these days even make sense towards their product. Nope

    • delinear

      “Samsung knows that no matter how many cool features they show off that iPhone users will still be stupid & naive and still buy an iPhone.”

      If Samsung “knows” that then they “know” nothing. My GF had an iPhone for 18 months. She didn’t buy it because she is stupid and naive, she bought it because she wanted a device which looked good, was easy to use and met all her needs.

      In fact she has just switched to a Google Nexus so you are wrong about her “being stupid and still buying an iPhone” (and incidentally you are wrong about her being stupid full stop). Why did she switch to a Google Nexus? Because I showed her how a) it was incredibly easy to use and b) actually did a better job of meeting her needs than the iPhone (ability to send songs between the phones with bluetooth, etc).

      What Samsung should be doing with potential customers in general is what I did, talking to them about what Android can do and how easy and user friendly it can be and how Samsung are producing some fantastic looking devices. It’s not that they don’t want to change, it’s more that they don’t even realise how good Android is as an iOS alternative and nobody seems to be telling them.

  • Fayez

    Samsung played it nice imo, they didnt focus on single product for whole 1.31 minutes which is smart. they showcased whole range of galaxy tab products including galaxy note (keep in mind at&t only now). now the point is all those million people watching it are not at&t customers. so this is smart, ur actually getting the ad that works for all customer not specific ones. exclusive ad for at&t in superbowl would have been big mistake and waste of $$$

  • Trinhbo

    Samsung wasted a bunch of money on this ad. Pretending to be a potential customer, I was hoping to learn more about the device but was left confused. Sure people here on this site are talking about the commercial but the problem is the people here are mostly Android users already. Samsung needed to do more to highlight the strengths and features of this device for new customers.

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

    Clearly you don’t believe in a thing called love. The stylus is obviously made from Cupid’s arrows and the phone is powered by kisses and Peter Pan-style happy loving thoughts.

  • Daevos

    Okay, I’m sorry I don’t know what the hell we are talking about anymore. Did no one notice Justin Hawkins rocking presence in this video?
    1930s curly tough-guy mustache – Check!
    Devilishly adorable stringy goatee – Check!

    I’m buying two Galaxy Notes in honor of Mr Hawkin’s successful launch of two facial fuzzes of yesteryear. Kudos to you rocker!

  • jamboy5590

    Samsungs biggest problem is they don’t know how to connect with there customers although most of the time its because they just don’t care.

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