08th Jan 2013
With some categories of mobile phones and tablets becoming commodotized (as in, similar products from different manufacturers in a price range), it's interesting to observe the advertising scene. Ads, apart from touting the specialty of the product in question, are increasingly trying to put down the competition — often the biggest name in the segment — in not-so-subtle ways. Here are a few instances in the last year of overtly agressive brand wars.
Apple vs Samsung vs Nokia
The iPhone seemed to be on everyone's hit list; major mobile makers were gunning to bring out the "iPhone killer." Soon after Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, Samsung put up some stinging ads comparing its flagship —the GALAXY S3 — to Apple's. The ad, titled "It doesn't take a genius", took a dig at Apple's Genius Bar store employees. It went on to list the features of both phones, showing up the GS III. Further, Samsung US tweeted, "The Galaxy S III is packed with 4G LTE, a 4.8" screen, and so much more. It doesn't take a genius to choose The Next Big Thing". Now this didn’t go down well with the vast army of Apple's unpaid brand ambassadors — buyers / fanboys — who leapt to the defence of the iPhone 5: Apple didn't even have to move a muscle. But that didn't stop Samsung from backing its tweets with a video ad.
Nokia, too, picked a battle with the iPhone — pointing out its lack of colour options. Nokia was not as in-Apple's-face as Samsung was, implying instead that happy people are pulled towards colourful phones that match their mood. On the bright side, the Lumias (800, 900, and 920) with the curved-glass screen and polycarbonate unibody design does seem to have more redeeming features than the Samsungs.
Map My Way
Apple was at the receiving end of a lot of flak after it decided to let go of Google Maps for a half-baked product. While users vented their frustration (much to the amusement of Android fanboys), rival brands jumped into the slug-fest as well. Motorola Mobility (which happens to be owned by Google) went out of its way to poke fun at Apple Maps with the launch of its new Motorola Droid RAZR M and the iLost hash-tag. Apple chose to remain mum, and didn't issue any counter ads — nor did fanboys come to the rescue this time around. Everyone in the Apple camp probably figured this battle would be a lost cause!
Not wanting to be left behind, Amazon joined the Apple-bashing party as it pit the Kindle Fire against the iPad 3, solely on the basis of cost. Amazon's ad claims you can buy as many as three Kindles for the price of one iPad, but it conveniently forgets the features the latter gives you for the price. Amazon's e-readers are cheaper in comparison, but the argument ends there. That didn't stop Amazon, however, from pitting its recently launched Kindle Fire HD against the iPad mini. This time around, Amazon did try to make its case stronger against the 7.9" iPad mini, but Apple fans didn't let the ecommerce giant have the last laugh.
Micromax Joins The Party!
Micromax joined the proceedings by taking a jab at Samsung's GALAXY Y, comparing it with its "superior" Ninja3.5 and Ninja4. I'm not sure if Micromax has what it takes to pick on Samsung, though.
HTC Picks On Nokia
HTC beat Nokia and Samsung in the Windows Phone 8 race by launching its Windows Phone 8X. But instead of capitalising on the edge they had in this nascent space, HTC decided to get petty on the other "Windows Phone" — the Lumia 920 — calling it over 20 pennies too heavy! GSM Arena confirms that the American penny weighs 2.5 grams, so the Lumia 920 (at 185 grams) is 55 grams heavier than the WP 8X (130 grams).
Special Mention: Laughing At Oneself
...But Microsoft finally showed us that it can laugh at its own shortcomings. Internet Explorer is not everybody's favourite browser, and MS knows that. In its latest iteration, IE is trying to catch up with its competitors. This YouTube ad tries to warm you up to reconsider things and go back to IE10. Even though you may not want to walk that road again, the advert does make you smile.
2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 10: Five Amusing Ad Wars
Have manufacturers gone too far with advertisements taking digs at competition — instead of highlighting their own products' strengths?
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