A Life Companion


Shown here is a commercial advertising the latest Samsung phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Portrayed in the advertisement is an artistic rendering of the phone, showing various photos that have been simulated on the screen, along with a song playing in the background titled “Summer III” by Antonio Vivaldi. During the advertisement some lines of text are displayed, such as “Slimmer Yet Stronger” and “Unimaginable Clarity”. The advertisement also contains a short clip of a mother taking a photo of her child.

One of Samsung’s primary competitors in the smart phone market is Apple. There have been several lawsuits between the companies and several advertisements targeted towards each other, thus Samsung has been forced to increase their advertising efforts in order to compete with apple. This particular advertisement is for the newest phone the galaxy S4, their original phone in the galaxy line was released only 4 years prior. Although it would seem that Samsung should be marketing their phones to android users, to choose their phone over other android phones, such as Motorola, their efforts have been more focused on getting iPhone users to switch. Lately Apple’s commercials have focused on their phones ability to capture images and moments. It is clear that in this advertisement Samsung has done the same. By creating a similar advertisement to that of apple’s, with short lines of text and a focus on the phone’s camera abilities, it is clear that Samsung’s primary audience for this commercial are iPhone users, although one could also argue that the aspect of the mother and child is intended for mothers, and the scenery depicted in the photographs may be intended for those who travel often.

In the lines of text displayed in this advertisement, Samsung uses several of the claims that Simon and Jones say are misdirections commonly used in advertising.  The first line in the advertisement, “Slimmer Yet Stronger”, is clearly a “We’re Better” Claim. According to Simon and Jones, this type of claim asserts that it is better without finishing the comparison. This way they can assert something that cannot be refuted, thus Samsung asserts that their phone is slimmer and stronger, without comparing it to any other phone. The next phrase used in the advertisement is “Unimaginable Clarity”, this line is almost nonsense. If something has clarity, it has clearness in appearance, thought, or style, while something that is unimaginable cannot be imagined. Certainly something that I cannot imagine is not clear to me, thus Samsung uses what Simon and Jones would call a “Poetic” claim. This is a claim which is colorful and uses feel-good words, which are literally meaningless, yet still make positive associations. Lastly, the tag line at the end is “Samsung Galaxy S4, Life Companion”. This line is both a “Poetic” claim, and a “Trivially True” claim, either way the line is meaningless, and at the same time, if one can assert that the Samsung Galaxy s4 is a life companion, than who is to say that other phones are not also life companions as the majority of the same services are provided.

Another common form of misdirection in advertising, according to Simon and Jones, involves the imagery used in the advertisement. They call this visual misdirection. In this particular advertisement, in fine print, you will find that phone used in the commercial is not an actual phone; it is an artistic rendering, generated on a computer to look fancy. It also notes the screens are simulated. This means that the actions performed on the phone are not real and may not run as smoothly, and the screen resolution may not look the same. Simon and Jones would call this Photographic Alteration, as the artist’s rendition of the phone is made to look like the phone, while making it look attractive to the viewer.

Samsung chose to use a violin concerto for the background music. According to Malefyt, advertisements make more appeals to emotion now than they used to. Samsung chose this music to appeal to the viewer’s emotion. I believe they chose this particular song, because usually violin music is considered to be very beautiful, and they would like the viewer to think of beauty when they think of their newest phone model. The song also happens to contain a lot of build up. As the phone was not yet released when this particular advertisement was, this song would be able to get the viewer excited for the release of the phone.

For marketing to their particular audience, I feel that this advertisement was effective, and according to the recent sales reports, it has been. For me particularly, as a computer science major, someone who is more interested in the technical specifics of a phone than the looks, this advertisement would not gain my attention, however for the majority of those buying smartphones, they have done their job of making their phone stand out among others, particularly when consumers are deciding between iphone or android. If I were to change this commercial at all, in order to improve it, I might make comparisons to the iPhone, similar to the Mac vs PC commercials.

 -Wesley King

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