Ever since Apple dumped on PC users with its infamous “Get a Mac” ad campaign, tech companies have been taking not-so-subtle digs at their competitors in their commercials. Ironically, it’s Cupertino that’s increasingly becoming the target, most notably in Samsung’s ads.
The South Korean conglomerate’s commercials and marketing stunts poking fun at Apple have ranged from ingenious to cringeworthy, and the latest ad to air in the US lands somewhere in between. The video, called “On the Fence,” shows a man literally climbing a fence to check out the “Samsung side” before another person on his side told him to jump back down.
The man sitting on the fence then says that Samsung’s side has folding phones and “epic cameras” and then gets told that “we’re waiting for all that to come here,” causing him to remark: “Why? It’s already over there.” While Samsung’s rival was not specifically named in the ad, the monochromatic nature of the “Apple” side (and the fact that everyone on that side is using MacBooks and iPhones) makes it painfully obvious.
It’s clear Samsung is taking a swipe at Apple’s sluggishness in adopting features such as pixel-binning cameras, as well as rumours that the company is also developing a folding phone. It’s a reasonable point of view—Samsung pioneered folding phones, and while it wasn’t the first to bring pixel-binning phones to the market, it’s pushing the boundaries of the technology.
But the company is also ignoring decades of its own copying of Apple’s features. Most notably, it enabled synced photo galleries and messages, file sharing and even copying and pasting between Galaxy phones and Windows PCs through the Phone Link app—several years after Apple introduced AirDrop, iCloud Photos and Continuity for iPhones, iPads and Macs.
Samsung is also guilty of copying Apple’s more nefarious aspects, such as deleting the headphone jack and removing the charger from the box—but not before making fun of its rival first. Remember, the company has actually been found guilty of copying its competitor, although the verdict was not without its share of controversy.
The ad also overlooks the key reason Apple users stick to its ecosystem. Yes, it would be nice if the company made a folding phone and didn’t drag its feet in implementing new features. But its real USP is the seamless integration between its devices, which is something that can only happen when both the hardware and software are tightly controlled—for better or for worse.
At the end of the day, it’s the norm for tech companies to steal features from each other, and it’s rich for Samsung to point out Apple’s practices for the sake of marketing. Unfortunately, it seems that’s all its marketing department can do.