"So we've got to find some way to beat the iPhone," said the Samsung boss.
"I know," retorted a bright spark. "We'll make an ad that sounds like it's for the iPhone."
So it came to pass that Samsung produced its new ad for the Galaxy S II. As the piano intones and the voice of a philosopher expounds, we feel--for more than a moment--that we are in the middle of Appleworld .
"Nobody ever set their sights on second place," says the voice. "Who aspires to be almost remembered?"
Well, indeed. But then along came those pesky Apple people and suckered whole swathes of humanity with their their soft, philosophical sell, their minimalist, simple design, and stores that look like they sell $10,000 furniture.
Still, this ad offers Rocky, Martin Luther King Jr., and Batman to prove that the aspiration of every American (and Samsung) is to be No. 1. Only No. 1.
"We all aspire," repeats the voice, as if reminding us that Samsung's isn't yet the most desirable phone in the world.
This has already taken the best part of 40 seconds. What thought might the Samsung philosopher leave us with? What image might haunt us through the next minutes and hours before we rush to buy this phone?
Oh, but then someone, somewhere decided to insert some product spiel--designed to bring you out of this philosophical world and back down to the philoso-shill world.
"So when we designed the Samsung Galaxy S II, we built it to be the best and brightest," says the voice. Because Samsung normally doesn't aim that high?--some might wonder. Or because Samsung had a little extra in its budget? Or because someone in the marketing department insisted Samsung say something at this point?
Sadly, the voice doesn't stop there: "...with the most vivid screen out there on our fastest phone ever. Because we're Samsung and that's just the way we're wired."
The Samsung Galaxy S II may well be a very fine phone. The question is whether this ad will make people feel the company offers a very fine world, one of which people will want to become life members.
If only they'd just showed us the world and the phone. If only they'd just left the philosophical world intact. If only they hadn't felt the need to insert those product cliches.
Sometimes those meaningless, little product descriptions get in the way of the real product message: feel this, then go buy it.