It's 2014 and Samsung is still bringing tab specs to an iPad experience fight
Samsung has aired yet-another anti-Apple attack ad, this one involving a guy walking around the streets of New York City showing passersby both the iPad Air and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Rather than point out the glaring problems with the ad, like Samsung using a white Tab but a black iPad for a "test" in which one of the criteria is "brightness", or having the "host" leading the passersby, pre-emptively telling them which tablet is "better", I'm going to try to help Samsung out here and focus on the core of their problem — they're copying it wrong.
It's 2014 and Samsung just fielded an ad saying the plastic, faux-leather backed Tab they released last month is lighter and thinner than the all-aluminum backed iPad Air Apple released almost a year ago. Which might be even the least bit excusable if, back in 2011, Apple hadn't fielded the first iPad 2 ad, "We Believe", saying technology alone wasn't enough, that being faster, thinner, and lighter were all good things, but that it was only when technology got out of the way that everything became more delightful, more magical.
In other words, the moment Apple released the best spec'ed tablet the world had ever seen, they told the world specs didn't matter, experience did. That's the part that needs to be copied and exceeded, not the thinness and lightness.
A tablet is really just a large window into the universe of the internet and apps. A nice window is a nice window but what matters to us as human beings is the view. It's what we can perceive, what we can learn, what we can aspire to, and what we can accomplish. It's the internet and the apps.
Samsung is failing to see that, and so is putting technology right back in the way. They're failing to say what they believe, and so are once again bringing specs to an experience fight. And it's no longer anywhere nearly enough.
Rather than repeat how I think Samsung should spend less time showing off Apple's products and more time showing off their own, or drone on about the importance of media literacy and not being sexist and stupefying, let me just say this — If Samsung wants to win me over in 2014 they won't do it by showing me what Apple already transcended back in 2011. They'll have to do it by showing me what I can aspire to and achieve with them.
Apple followed up "We Believe" with a series of ads that showed people, young and old, using the iPad and the many new, amazing apps only made possible by the iPad. 3 years later and Apple has continued that to this very day with their "Your Verse" series which show artists and musicians, writers and entrepreneurs, divers and mountaineers — people from all walks of life and in all parts of the world — accomplishing things with the iPad they simply could not accomplish without it.
3 years later and where are the apps only made possible by the Galaxy Tab? Where are the apps better than Adobe Voice or 123D Creatures, than Microsoft Office or Storehouse, than Infinity Blade or Capo Touch. Where are the apps made by Samsung that leave the likes of iMovie and GarageBand in the dust?
If Samsung wants to win me over, they won't do it with poorly staged, sketchy passerby ads. They'll have to do it by making a batter, more coherent, more enabling tablet.
They'll have to copy and advertise that.