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Is Samsung making a mockery of the Galaxy S4 launch?

The curiously unamusing and cheesy flash mob offered today in New York. The awfully "ET"-ish teaser commercials. Is this all one big joke before tomorrow's launch?

Um, what? Samsung Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'd like to discuss the English word "naff."

Not yet au courant in the United States, this is a British word whose closest American approximation might be "cheesy." But it's more aggressive and derisive than that.

"Naff" is invading my mind right now, after seeing yet another element of Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch advertising.

Today, a flash mob that would not have looked out of place on the duller side of Broadway at least 35 years ago, appeared in Times Square.

This followed cold on the heels of a couple of ads starring a curiously bland little boy called Jeremy Maxwell.

If someone were to describe either of these efforts as "cool," cool would sue.

So one's natural instinct is to imagine that there's a little subterfuge going on here.

All Samsung is really doing is lulling you into a sense of peculiar deja vu, before stunning you with something you've never seen before.

After all, many of Samsung's ads over the last year have been excellent, most of all the brilliant naughty husband-and-wife ad for the S3.

Jeremy Maxwell and the dancing men who forgot their makeup for the "Clockwork Orange" audition seem like they're from a time gone by.

Worse, they seem like they're from another brand.

If Samsung doesn't subvert them at tomorrow's launch, there's one other possibility: that the company and its ad agency have had a small falling out and the client has insisted on something a little (a lot) more conservative.

Which would not only be a pity, but very, well, naff behavior in the wake of considerable recent success.