Samsung has released a new series of quick-hitting Galaxy S9 ads, which feature exactly zero footage of the actual Galaxy S9. Instead, the world’s biggest smartphone company has concocted a simulated Apple Store where a long-haired employee with an Apple logo on his T-shirt provides customers with unsatisfactory responses to their spec-related queries about the iPhone X. All of which make the S9 look better by comparison.
One person asks about the missing headphone jack on the iPhone X, apparently having ignored smartphones since September 2016 when the iPhone 7 first ditched the jack. It’s an amusing skit making a fair point, but by now most people in the Apple ecosystem have adapted to the dongle life in one way or another. Another potential iPhone X customer asks about the camera, which lets Samsung insert a sly point about having a higher camera benchmark score than the iPhone, even though that benchmark (DxOMark) consistently overrates technical performance over photographic quality. But whatever, the Galaxy S9 has a headphone jack and a good camera and, Samsung also wants to remind you, it also has fast wireless charging and faster download speeds than the iPhone X.
Something troubles me about these ads: they feel acrimonious. I understand that Samsung’s best bet in the United States is to show off its strengths by comparing them against the company and product with the largest mindshare, but I can’t imagine a single iPhone owner would look at these and find themselves attracted to Samsung. For one thing, they can’t even see what the Galaxy S9 looks like in any of these ads. It seems more like Samsung is preaching to the choir: scoring cheap shots against the competition and making its own users and fans feel good about their tech life choices.