Samsung tries to out-cool Apple at Oscars

Commentary: During the Oscars, Samsung debuts an ad featuring vlogger Casey Neistat -- a man who once embarrassed Apple -- and the theme "do what you can't."

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Casey Neistat, man of the (YouTube) people.

Samsung has Oscars history.

Its Oscars night all-star selfie featuring almost everyone who believe they're anyone even made the president jealous. President Obama, that is.

On Sunday, Samsung tried to ensure it's seen as cool again -- and certainly cooler than Apple.

For here was an ad featuring, of all people renowned vlogger -- and not exactly always an Apple fanperson -- Casey Neistat. In this Samsung ad, Neistat explained that he represented "the creators of this generation."

These are the people who "don't have big awards shows or fancy cameras." They merely have phones, duct tapes, parking lots and guts. Oh, and an idea that needs to be told.

Strange ideas, silly ideas, but, at least for some, uplifting, crazy, educational and life-affirming ideas. His is the generation of can-dos, those who won't be told they can't. Indeed, the tagline to this opus is "Do What You Can't."

Should you not have been alive in 2003, Neistat rose to online fame with a little movie entitled "iPod's Dirty Secret." In it, he revealed that the iPod's battery only lasted 18 months.

He's been a tiny thorn in Apple's love-handles on occasion since then.

In 2013, for example, he mused: "I am so disappointed in Apple. I don't even use an iPhone anymore. Their marketing sucks. It's embarrassing. It's just garbage. If you had asked me the day Steve Jobs died, 'What's the biggest fear for what might happen with Apple?' I would have described to you what's happening right now."

And surely you've seen his witty excoriation of the gold Apple Watch.

Samsung has succeeded in recent times with its ads often becoming more virally popular than Apple's. After the Note 7 debacle, it seems clear that it's still trying to make inroads by presenting itself as younger and cooler than Cupertino -- which has become more of a global establishment brand than ever. Still, the iPhone is still favored by more than 75 percent of teens, according to one study.

With this ad, Samsung is using a creative stage to declare itself the brand of the people. The young people, that is.

Of course, some watching this ad will have no idea who Neistat is. And that's the point.