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Does Samsung's new Galaxy Gear ad copy iPhone launch ad?

With its depiction of characters from TV and movies talking to their watches, many on Twitter were reminded of the original iPhone launch ad. A copy? Yes and no.

A technological marvel? Samsung/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I know this subject never arises when Apple and Samsung are mentioned, but let's give it a tiny, experimental airing. Today's subject is copying.

Sunday, when Samsung launched two new ads celebrating its magical, revolutionary Galaxy Gear watch, some on Twitter felt an earthquake.

No, it wasn't the one centered in Oakland, Calif. (a 3.0, no worries). It was that the ad featuring Captain Kirk and Fred Flintstone talking to their watches had an alleged predecessor: the original iPhone launch teaser ad in 2007.

Should you have been pregnant with octuplets at the time, this ad also featured scenes from TV and movies with characters picking up the phone and saying: "Hello." (It's embedded below.)

"It's the same idea!" carped Apple-blooded Twitterati.

It is and it isn't.

It would be more than a touch surprising if Samsung's creatives didn't know the Apple ad. However, there's a big difference between its message and the one offered by the Galaxy Gear ad.

Apple wasn't exactly saying: "Remember those old phones you've seen in movies? Well, now you can finally have one!"

It was more that Apple was sweetly implying that here was something a little, well, different.

It's the opposite with the Galaxy Gear ad. It seems to be saying: "Remember all those cool shows where people talked to their watches? Well, now you can. And it'll be just as cool."

The problem is, as many reviewers have pointed out, that the product isn't just as cool.

It only works with a Galaxy Note 3 and the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Its design isn't exactly an eye-catcher. And there's no clear reason to believe that anyone actually needs one or finds that it captures their imagination.

Samsung has decided to sacrifice creating a truly remarkable product in order to beat Apple to being first. There is, of course, no reason to believe that Apple will ever enter this market. But if it does, many expect its offering to be slightly more considered.

Samsung put its ad creators in the worst position possible. It asked them to assumptively claim ownership of the category with a product that isn't terribly exciting. So what you get is an ad that promises far more than the product actually delivers.

Over the last two years, Samsung's ads have been far more involving, amusing, aggressive, and inventive than Apple's. They have played an important role in the ascent of the Galaxy S series, often poking Apple precisely where it hurts -- in its ego.

The Galaxy Gear ads might pay off in the long run. They might make some believe that the company was truly the creator of the techy-watch category. And, as hopefully better versions of the Galaxy Gear watch emerge, people will have residual and positive feelings toward the brand.

However, currently, while reminding many of their past naive happiness, they are, as the English would put it, a little too much mouth and not enough trousers.