Samsung shows Apple how to do sports

In pulsating World Cup ad, Samsung enlists almost every famous soccer player for four minutes of futuristic joy.


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Cristiano Ronaldo in training. Samsung/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There are only two types of people in the world: those who watch the World Cup and those who should be ordered to do community service for their refusal to watch the World Cup.

Samsung has been building up to the event for quite a while. It's been teasing a game between its own Galaxy 11, a team comprised of some of the world's most talented players, and a team of aliens, who no doubt, will play very dirty.

In the latest ad, the Galaxy players are put through rigorous training, designed to get them psychologically and technologically attuned to the rigors ahead.

Here we have Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas -- and a host of the world's greatest -- performing all sorts of maneuvers to save the planet.

It's all quite gripping, if a little derivative of past Nike ads. It makes Samsung -- sponsors of Chelsea in the English Premier League -- an entirely comfortable player in the sporting arena, and its gadgets play an entertaining role in the action.

Which made me think for a moment about Apple. Somehow, one hasn't ever associated Apple with sports.

The Apple logo lives on an exalted altar all its own, never to be seen on something as grubby as a soccer shirt.

The only sporting association that immediately comes to mind is the lady hammer thrower from the "1984" ad.

Yet if wearables are, tragically or not, to become the next medium for technology, Apple may be drawn into the sheer glee of measuring heart rates, pulse rates, and numbers of footsteps taken per minute per day.

Might the company feel forced to have a slightly different perspective about entering the sporting world more directly?

Naturally, the immense power of the Apple brand sometimes inadvertently enters the sporting arena. During this year's Winter Olympics, reports emerged that a corporate sponsor was miffed that so many athletes had Apple products, and it asked that they be covered up.

That corporate sponsor was Samsung.

Here, the company is not only acknowledging the increasing role of technology in sports, but also the fact that the World Cup truly is one of the only events that makes the whole world stop, stare, and scream.

I suppose they'll be too busy in Cupertino to watch the games, won't they?

 

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