Regular reviews of branded content to let you know if they’re worth watching.

Samsung Galaxy | Growing Up
Published 05 Nov 2017 at https://youtu.be/R59TevgzN3k

This one was shared with me via Facebook and comes from Samsung in response to the hype around the Apple X.

It begins in 2007 with our hip young protagonist joining the queue for the first iPhone outside an Apple store.  He’s proud of his purchase but fast forward to 2010 and it’s out of memory for photos.  He upgrades but is let down when he can’t take down the number of a girl he meets in 2013.  Following some tomfoolery with said girl in 2015 he ends up in the water and his iPhone in a bowl of rice to dry out.  Finally, in 2017, he finds himself chained to a wall charging his iPhone through the dongle so he can listen to headphones while this girlfriend watches TV.  I guess things are getting rocky.

I must confess at the outset that I personally switched from iPhone to Galaxy this year and it felt so good I switched my Apple TV for a Chromecast and my iPad to a Chromebook.  Apple used to be laser-focussed on user experience but their strategy to get me to pay for Apple Music was to make the experience of managing my own music a nightmare so I might pay $9.99 a month for tunes I already own!  But I’m not here to review phones or operating systems, I’m here to review content so…

The film is really an extended ad shot in that slightly desaturated style beloved by hipster Instagramers and featuring a cool nerd – he queues up for an iPhone but he talks to girls too – suffering from a litany of first world problems.  In the hands of, say, Pepsi this may seem crass but Samsung is “woke”, they have a sense of humour and so get away with it.  In fact, Samsung’s sense of humour as a brand is one of its key differentiators from oh serious Apple who are like a preening super model next Samsung’s funny girl next door.

The journey is familiar to me, a Samsung convert, but is it enough to turn a die-hard Apple fan?  There must be some risk in alienating them? The very tagline suggests not only is the iPhone an inferior product but that iPhone users are somehow inferior too.  In the final sequence our hip young protagonist walks straight past the queue for the new iPhone, looking down at the dork waiting his X.  By focussing on the iPhone and its users I wonder if Samsung is trying to shame them to “Upgrade to Samsung”, if so it’s an interesting tactic.

As ever I’m impressed with Samsung’s sense of humour and its boldness in featuring a competitor product throughout the ad – too many brands try to pretend their competitors don’t exist, it takes a truly confident brand to face one down like this.  But it is an ad, not content because ultimately it’s still all about the product.  It offers entertainment, to some degree, but no real value other than a sense of superiority for current Samsung converts.

2/5

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