A new Samsung commercial, set in the neverending line for a new Apple project, is good for a laugh, but based on the long history of jeers pointed in Steve Jobs's direction, we're not sure it's the best marketing strategy. There's a long list of both companies and comedians who've taken the anti-Apple fanboy approach before, whether to peddle a competing product or make a point about our obsessively materialistic American culture. (People are even spying on Apple Store construction now!) But don't they get it? This was Steve Jobs's plan all along.
Take this latest Samsung joint. Even if you're an Apple fan you have to laugh at some of the actually pretty realistic quotes coming out the fake fanboys' mouths. "Uh oh, blogs are saying the battery looks sketchy." "Can I see your phone? Can I see it with my hands?" "I could never get a Samsung — I'm creative." "Dude, you're a barista." But given Samsung's recently heated legal battles over allegedly copying Apple's designs, some might also think Samsung looks like a sore loser, kind of like the politician struggling to catch up to the frontrunner by slinging mud. Then, there's also a point to be made about Samsung preaching to the converted. Some Apple fans really love waiting in line; others have turned it into a second career.
But this is all beside the point. Whether you sleep with all of your Apple devices in the bed or dressed up as the Android robot for Halloween, you can't argue that even spoofs of Apple fanboy culture only serve to highlight Steve Jobs's marketing genius. Take the time the Simpson devoted an entire episode to the cult of Mapple and Steve Mobs. It's like a half-hour of free advertising, and even the clips have racked up millions of pageviews on YouTube:
Futurama pulled off a similar gag, but it's a little grittier.
Then there's the prankster Mark Malkoff who earned a viral hit by going to the Apple Store and, get this, making fun of how helpful Apple Store employees are!
The best example of the futility of making fun of Apple comes from Ellen Degeneres, though. Ellen ran a spoof commercial for the iPhone on her show with all the best iPhone jokes — fat fingers, autocorrect, etc. — and based on how she tells the story, Apple actually complained to her about the bit. Which inevitably results in a segment lasting just as long as the spoof during which Ellen won't shut up about how much she loves Apple. You can't buy that kind of product placement. Or can you?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.