Tech ads 2012: Samsung best, Facebook worst

In a 2012 that saw unbridled competition, Samsung stands above anyone else in using ads to address its brand image. Facebook, on the hand, needed to take a seat.

Just wonderful. Samsung Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The lovely thing about advertising is that most of it is forgettable.

Which makes the task of remembering the very good and the very bad at the end of the year much, much easier.

The best, most certainly, is barely even a contest. As the spittle flew in court between Apple and Samsung, the latter had some very clever ad people produce ads that, at last, began not only to improve Samsung's own image, but also to dent Apple's.

Indeed, from the Super Bowl onward , Samsung relentlessly pressed Apple on its cultism, its allegedly sheep-like following and its, well, lack of real technical innovation.

This culminated in an ad launched during the debut of the iPhone 5 that suggested Apple products were for, well, pained hipsters and old folks.

However, Samsung didn't merely spend all its time knocking Apple. It created a joyous ad for its solid-state drives using Laina, the overly attached girlfriend.

It even followed it with a controversial, if amusing to some, ad featuring puppies .

It also produced the single best tech ad of 2012 . In this, a husband is going off for a business trip. His kids have made him a little movie to watch on the plane.

His wife has made him a little movie to not watch on the plane. This beautiful, confident gem bears repeat viewing over and over again.

Perhaps the only other single ad that strikes my own memory at the end of this long year -- in a positive way -- was an ad for Google Chrome called Jess.

In this supremely balanced and acted piece, a daughter has arrived at college and wishes her dad could help her unpack.

As the story unfolds, we learn that there is someone missing. It's mom. She's dead.

But not once is this played for mawkishness. Instead, it's a mini-movie that chokes you up with its sheer genuine humanity. That's not something that many could have often said about Google.

Apple somehow sauntered through the middle of things, seeming to focus on its worldwideness, rather than any sense of a new character. It tried creating ads to celebrate its Geniuses . Some loathed them.

It also tried going back to the future, by reaching for its old simplicity and wit to launch the iPad Mini .

Microsoft, on the other hand, tried to get aggressive, with just about everyone -- especially Google . But its efforts smacked largely of a certain uncertainty.

The worst, though, the very worst came from a company that is so desperate to make more money from advertising.

Facebook, in order to celebrate yet another artificial number, decided to create an ad that compared itself to a chair .

Chairs apparently connect people. Anyone can sit on a chair, apparently. Chairs are for people.

No, I am not trying to tell a philosophy professor's joke. I am quoting from this luminous lump of lardy lyricism.

Chairs are apparently like doorbells and bridges and dance floors and basketball and basket weaving and basket cases. Yes, I may have made the last two up.

But would it really have made any difference if I hadn't?

 

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