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Latest Samsung attack ad mocks crowds waiting for iPhone 5

Analysts react that making fun of buyers could backfire

September 19, 2012 04:06 PM ET

Computerworld - Samsung's battle with Apple has gone to the courts, and now to the streets.

A new attack ad by Samsung pokes fun at Apple customers who wait in line outside stores for the iPhone 5.

A new attack ad from Samsung pokes fun at Apple customers who wait in long lines outside Apple stores to buy the iPhone 5.

The ad instead promotes the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, including its NFC ability to beam large files from one S III to another with a touch. Some barbs are also pointed at the highly criticized Lightning port which requires a $29 adapter to connect with older devices. The ad notes the S III has already deployed LTE and a larger display, ahead of the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 doesn't have near field communications technology, and some have criticized Apple for not including it, while others have found it unneeded. Apple officials have said their Passbook mobile wallet app will work fine with on-screen barcodes to transfer payment and other data from boarding passes and tickets.

"The next big thing is already here -- Samsung Galaxy S III," is the central message of the Samsung attack ad. But the ad also pokes fun at the characters who line up for iPhones, as did a similar Samsung ad last year that promoted the earlier Galaxy S II.

In the current ad, one young man in line using an S III to the distress of others waiting with him, yields his spot to his parents to buy their iPhones. Another iPhone fan exudes to a friend that the iPhone 5 head jack "is going to be on the bottom!" Yet another complains that Apple should give priority to people who have waited in line five times for iPhones.

Back in the real world, crowds have already lined up at Apple stores to buy the iPhone 5 on Friday in large cities, including New York. Some arrived there as early as last Friday -- two days after the iPhone 5 announcement was made. Some in line say they hope to be sure to get a device, rather than having to wait a few weeks when ordering online.

Analysts said Samsung will easily surpass in 2012 the $1 billion it spent on advertising last year, which comes atop the $1.05 billion a jury has ordered Samsung to pay Apple for patent infringement.

One analyst, Carolina Milanesi of Gartner, said the new ad could backfire on Samsung. She called it a "repeat" of the one that Samsung did for the Galaxy S II when Apple launched the iPhone 4S.

"It does not show much innovation in advertising," she said . "I think that as a vendor, you need to be careful when making fun of users, as more times than not, it does not win you a customer. It just ends up upsetting people who might move on from where they are, but not to your brand."

Her colleague at Gartner, Michael Gartenberg, agreed. "In general, it's best not to go too negative on the competition, but rather showcase the features of your product that are most compelling," he said. "It's also probably not a good idea to mock potential buyers."

covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at Twitter @matthamblen or subscribe to Hamblen RSSMatt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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