Just when Samsung had earned some respect for its advertising campaigns, the latest Galaxy S IV teaser disappoints by emphasizing secrets over product. Ahead of its March 14th announcement of the latest model of its most popular Galaxy S series, Samsung posted this teaser spot on its YouTube page, selling the unveiling of its next phone as a moment packed with child-like wonder. It's a way to hype its Unpacked event later this month while still keeping it all a big juicy secret. Samsung, following the model of Apple, wants to give the blogger masses something to talk about without giving them anything to talk about.
Until now, this whole secret hype-cycle thing has worked in the gadget maker's favor. It has also received accolades for its ads. However, this attempt to turn the natural, very real excitement for the phone into marketing is like Samsung shouting "WE HAVE A SECRET" into our faces. Unlike other, more successful Samsung spots, it doesn't have the "so funny because it's so true" feeling. Those ads give actual details about the products that make them better than Apple's products, while pointing out the absurdity of fanboy culture. It's entertaining because there's some truth to it. This Pulp Fiction meets Richie Rich story teases—and that's it. This ad isn't selling the phone, it's selling the secret.
Because of this off-putting take, so far the ad has earned the title of an ad "you can safely ignore" and "frustratingly bad. Others find it just frustrating, as it doesn't give any additional information about the phone, which so far the rumorers expect will be the best ever, with a high resolution screen and super fast processor.
Last week after the following Oscars ad, Ken Segall—the man who invented the Think Different campaign—noticed the recent cleverness coming out of the South Korean electronics monster:
"You can't argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising. The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung," he wrote.
But today's spot doesn't quite deliver. It has gone too far with the "it's a big secret!" thing. A slightly vague invitation is enough.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.