Apple vs. Samsung advertising: Real life vs. really awkward

Last week Apple released "Misunderstood", which showed a disconnected boy at the periphery of his family, and how Apple products like the iPhone 5s and services helped him connect and give them a heartwarming gift for the holidays. We also saw Nokia's nightmarish "For work. For play.". This week it's Samsung turn with "Are you Geared Up?", which shows how a watch can be more convenient for... hitting on the opposite sex while on a ski trip.

Check them both out and let me know what you think. How do they make you feel about the brands? About the devices? About the experience of using them and their ecosystems? About what you're likely to buy next?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Deal of the Day: Ballistic Shell Gel (SG) Series Case for iPhone 5/5S

Next up β†’

Best iPad Air keyboard case: Zagg vs. Logitech vs. Belkin!

Reader comments

Apple vs. Samsung advertising: Real life vs. really awkward


The iPhone Ad (for me) it's better in getting the message about holidays & family...
~how technology can create those little moments.

The Samsung Ad, it was funny but i didn't connect with it, feel too cheesy for my taste

If there is one thing that being married has taught me is that women aren't usually impressed by technology. Especially technology that takes time away from "together time". I can just hear women everywhere saying, "Oh no, one more gadget that I have to compete with".β€”or maybe just my wife. ;-)

That was a terrible ad, and from the people I know with the "gear" its clunky and glitchy more often then not. Nice and creepy as well, let me film you without you knowing

The hell did I just watch...? This really makes me never want anything samsung ever and makes me want to show that video to anyone who likes galaxy gear

Sent from the iMore App

Don't give 2 shits about advertising, I own the 5S with 64gb of storage, love it. I also own the Note 3 with the Gear watch, they work so great together. IMO the Note 3 is the best Smartphone to date, the S-Pen with unbelievable software puts it in a class by itself. Throw in the Gear Watch and the complete experience is worth every dollar. The updated S-Voice on the Note 3 works just like the Moto-X, screen opens with voice commands and it works great. My ranting on is because I can think of so much more to write about than a couple of stupid adds and both were real stupid.

I'd believe you guys but I was in Miami with Phil when he reviewed the Note 3 + Gear and I think the rest of us had to talk him off the hate train ;)

Phil has his opinion, I disagree. Since then The Gear has had a major update. I know at least 3 people at Android Central that own and use the Note 3. Anyone who uses the Note 3 with the S-Pen can't help but love it. There isn't a phone faster or one with better software. Phil likes the Moto-X, that phone has the worst camera and I can go on. The Note 3 also has a ton of after market accessories including wireless charging that works great. I find myself using the Note 3 for everything including things I would use my new I-Pad. No bearing on my I-Pad, the Note 3 is such a great experience for work related and all around fun. I have had just about every device and the Note 3 is just a beast of a phone.
PS. Waiting a few weeks for new jailbreak to be thoroughly tested and then if it's working without issues I'm all in.

I can't speak to the Gear. Phil also has a load of devices to test. Everyone I know who has one is far from a tech follower so they have no clue about anything other than iPhones and Galaxies.

I don't care for TouchWiz at all, anymore, so I'm not a fan.

The execution is the clumsy part. They showed useful situations but with a creepy actor dude showing off (not using naturally) his new tech in an extra long commercial just got weird.

Apple's hit the spot. Par for the course.

Apple ad shows how technology gets in the way of face to face communication with friends and family. Its only demonstration of usefulness to the family was the AirPlay. Samsung at least shows several capabilities of the watch with some humor added in for entertainment.

You're comment is so off I have internal bleeding from it. The point of Apple was to say their technology is a HUMAN's servant. It's there only to serve you and capture all your greatest moments. Samsung's commercial says you are a useless side kick to that hideous watch. Girls won't like you without it because you are a boring human, try to hide your humanity with technology. Apple is saying emphasize your humanity, these products will help you do that.

Sent from the iMore App

To be completely fair... both adds are lame. So it's ok to be a total recluse around family as long as your making a special montage video of everyone else having a great time.... lame.

However, the samsung is worse. most girls (especially the attractive ones) don't give a rats behind about tech stuff. and the acting is so horrible it's hard to tell if they are trying to be serious or not. The sad thing is that there actually seem to be some neat features with the watch as far as hands free goes, but they really show it off in a stupid way

yeah, both angles are bad, but the samsung one is way worse, and way creepier.

Unless Aimee and Jack were at a skiing version of "Hedonism", I think finding a woman interested in you because of your technology would be rare indeed.

I think both of these ads are pretty smart. I do not think personal connection, tonal quality, or a sense of "reality" are particularly relevant at a personal level for these companies. These ads have a simple intention: to elicit a reaction...and that is exactly what they do. These ads are memorable because each one quite blatantly describe to me what their product does. I am sure they will be effective at selling their products. I already have an iPhone 5s and I love it. Personally, not my style but I'm most definitely likely to at least look into the Samsung Galaxy Gear now that I've seen it in action.

If I was a women and man did that to me, I would wait till the very last moment, and then pepper spray him, and scream "HELP! THIS MAN IS TRYING TO RAPE ME, AND LOCK ME IN HIS BASEMENT!"

The Samsung ad is terrible, even though it tries to show off features. They have been going about showing off unique features through odd commercials lately. Even though they are cheesy, they do a pretty good job of showing off want you can do with their devices.

The iPhone commercial is nice, but it doesn't really show anything that separates it from all of the other devices out there. Pretty much any smartphone can take photos and video, and there are plenty of apps for combining and making presentations from them. It's easy enough for someone with a different phone to see the commercial and say "my phone can do that, too". I do like how it builds on real life experiences, which is something the other device ads seem to leave out entirely.

People may be missing the full impact of the Apple spot: it's not simply that the boy is "disconnected" or a "recluse" -- there's a suggestion here that he has a social anxiety disorder or even Asperger syndrome. There are subtle clues in his body language that just jump out to anyone familiar with such conditions. People like that may seem withdrawn or oblivious to their friends and loved ones, but deeply focusing their attention on projects and interests is how such people cope with intense social situations (like a family Christmas). This is not a "get your face out of that iPhone and socialize" kind of thing -- it's a real neurological condition and can be the source of much embarrassment and hurt when your loved ones don't "get it." The young man in this spot is showing his family that no matter what it looks like from the outside, he really is paying attention to them. This is why his relatives are moved to tears. I get a bit choked up watching it myself!

The Kindle HD is the funny one to me. It has "one million more pixels"than the iPad air. Does that make any sense. Can the human eye really see that much, or tell a difference if that is really true.

Sent from the iMore App

The Samsung ad was absurd, cheesy and full of flaws. There will probably be a rise in skiing accidents after this because some *impressionable* adults.

Sent from the iMore App

The samsung ad was terrible. The galaxy gear may have some potential but I don't believe it was highlighted best in this video. The gear won't ever get you girls if that's what they were pushing in the video. I also thought the ad was extremely cheesy with a capital C...

Sent from the iMore App

Apples ad was the one for me, mostly because it it was WAY more based on Christmas then Samsung's ad. Without Samsung's ad being titled for Christmas, or being said to be based on it, I wouldn't of ever known it was for Christmas.
This is just my opinion. :)

Sent from the iMore App

Misunderstood is SOO BAD. that crap would never happen in real life.. kids hate their families and no old uncle has an apple TV... it's ridiculously cheesy and corny. ya, gear commercial is lame too but it's not for TV, it's only for YouTube.

Why do people keep describing the teen in the Apple video as if he's some weirdo? I have 3 nephews that spent plenty of time in front of video games, watching TV, listening to their iPods, and glued to their phones and they're all completely normal kids. One is studying music in college, the other plays in a band and the youngest is a running back on his high school football team. Just because a kid might be glued to their smartphones at times doesn't make them weird or indicate that they have some kind of disorder. For me the kid in this ad was just like any other teenager.

Thank you very much. I saw the add on TV and I didn't see the kid as weird or 'misunderstood'. I simply saw a teen using his tech to give his family a really great gift. In fact he was more engaged than it appeared than simply playing some video game. I didn't necessarily see Jack in the Samsung ad as creepy but it seem protracted and kind of dumb. They might have been going for the cool guy gets the girl. That kind of ad might have work better in the 80s. People are way more sensitive today. Stick with warm and fuzzy this time of year Samsung.

Sent from the iMore App

Wasn't the Note 3 cheating in the Benchmarks!! Out of topic just to clarify that, if Apple had such a big device i think every company would've gone out of business, Iphone 5s such a small device compare to Note 3 and it kick ass!!

Sent from the iMore App

IMore should put an unlike button, to unlike these idiots that think they know everything and that could include me if i'm wrong ;)

Sent from the iMore App

Terrible acting.
The only thing I liked was how they showcased the Gear's features. Other than that it was really just meh.

The Apple one reminded me of those Foldgers and AT&T long distance Ada from years ago.

The Samsung one seemed more like the stalker's guide to tech.

Sent from the iMore App

That Samsung ad was the worst thing I've ever seen. Reminds me of an epilogue to a Hostel movie. The only thing that would've salvaged it would've been to have Phil Schiller walk in and tell Jack that his watch sucks.

Sent from the iMore App

Ok I find it funny that the guy dropped his "iPhone I'm guessing" from the ski lift because the commercial was intending that it is annoying to take your phone out when it's not easily accessible. Yet the girl next to him just got her Galaxy out no problem.. What are they even trying to show in this commercial. And when the guy is holding the two wine glasses, answers his phone on his watch he, would still have to slide to answer the phone, at least I think. Not sure if you can just saw "answer". Just two things that I wanted to point out there. I hate when companies try to compete. It's ridiculous. Even through iPhone wasn't mentioned in that commercial, we all know that the other guy missing out on the girl, was using an iPhone. I don't see Apple make criticizing commercials. except for a few years ago with the Mac and PC commercials. Both companies have their own things they are known for. So stop making commercial comparing to others, but make them happy and delightful to all, like Apple.

Sent from the iMore App

Samsung should fire their add agency. Their ads are *all about me*, perfect for any guy under 25 who wants to date a bimbo who can be seduced by a gadget. I wanted to punch out the "man" and the "woman."

I've seen the Apple ad and I liked it. It pulled on the emotions with cases that people experience all the time. How many people are that person staring at their devices or see family members doing it while at a family thing. The Samsung ad is very different. It is showing something that is not practical for everyday people. Then there is the fact that the ad shows the devices wirking in ways that are not representative of the real experience.

Sent from the iMore App

I really didn't care for either ad. The Apple ad just made me realize how much social interaction kids and adults are missing out on for the sake of a digital world. The Samsung ad was just bad and unrealistic. Neither made me want to buy their product. I expect better from both companies.

That Samsung Ad. was way bad, I mean, just take a look at the actor Jack, I bet this was his first time in a commercial and his last I hope. Lol.. What time zone is living in? Be a little bit more real, do you think that a girl will fall for you just because you have a Hi-Tech watch that could help you find your phone when you drop it and take picture's so clear while you're on the move.. Maybe the watch do looks nice, but definitely not the guy! And the name.. he should be acting in