Samsung has a few reasons to be peeved—about 1.05 billion of them. The U.S. district court awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages in the high-profile lawsuit that has attracted great interest in the mobile technology industry. Essentially, Apple alleges that Samsung stole its ideas and infringed on its patents with the Galaxy tablet. Of course, legal appeals and an eventual settlement remain likely because Samsung is one of Apple’s chief suppliers of chips and components. Many pundits predict dire consequences for consumers from the court’s ruling, but Australians seem more amused by the feud.
Rumours of Samsung trolling Apple have taken on epic proportions due to the placement of aggressive full-page ads, the new iChanged advertising campaign that pokes fun at Apple users and videos that suggest that Apple products are outdated. Things reached a fever pitch when a well-crafted hoax suggested that Samsung had paid the award to Apple by sending 30 trucks loaded with $1.05 billion in U.S. five-cent coins. This totally fabricated story was picked up by many legitimate news agencies and pundits and will find its way to lists of the greatest hoaxes in history. If Samsung actually had paid its judgement in nickels, most consumers around the world would have delighted in a perfect example of justified trolling.
Evidence of trolling points to both sides in the feud
Samsung initially remained quiet about the lawsuit but gradually became more aggressive in its response. Court actions and counteractions have been filed in many countries including Australia, and most industry experts predict an eventual rapprochement and settlement that preserves the companies’ business relationship. Experts agree that the verdict opens the floodgates for Apple taking legal action against other competitors including industry-giant Google, which is the company that markets the competitive Android operating system used in mobile phones and devices that challenge Apple’s iPhones and iPads.
Charges and countercharges have become almost daily occurrences in the media and blogosphere. Trolls have crawled out from under their bridges to chase down developers, coders and independent companies in hopes of scoring easy patent-infringement tolls.
- Windows has joined the party by suggesting in its advertising that frustrated consumers can buy Nokia products, skip the drama and stop fighting.
- Boston University is suing Apple for patent infringement over parts used in iPads and iPhones.
- Apple and Samsung are encouraging troll-like behaviour by gleefully issuing new charges and filing more lawsuits and appeals.
- Crowd-sourcing patent experts Article One Partners estimate that litigation costs associated with opportunistic trolls in the United States alone total $29 billion according to an article in Forbes.
In an ironic twist, Boston University commissioned the study that found that “patent trolling” cost the American economy an astonishing $29 billion annually, but the institution is engaging in the practice.
Samsung’s aggressive advertising campaign resonates with Aussie audiences
Just because the epic trolling story about Samsung paying the jury award in nickels isn’t true doesn’t mean that Samsung hasn’t landed some punches. Despite having a fruitful business arrangement with Apple, Samsung has responded to the litigation and unfavourable judgement by positioning its products as better and more innovative and implying that Apple’s litigation is simply sour grapes over losing market share. Humour helps to take the edge off the attack, but the sharply derisive ads do point to those product differences that matter most to consumers.
1.) Ads for iChanged
Samsung iChanged advertising is showing up everywhere in Australia—at the gym, in stores, on YouTube and in traditional media forums. Digital signs in stores urge consumers to compare features and switch to the Galaxy GS4. The campaign focuses on common excuses that people give for not switching such as fear of losing your contacts. Samsung’s Smart Switch software makes switching painless and fast. Claims that the ads aren’t trolling Apple fall on deaf ears because of the prominent use of the “iChanged” terminology that relates to Apple’s iPhones and iPads.
2.) New Samsung watch offers a unique innovation
The new Samsung Galaxy Gear is the first practical wristwatch phone that is amazingly similar to the classic Dick Tracy wrist-phone that was featured in the popular comic strip. The smart device notifies wearers of incoming calls, emails and text messages and allows them to make hands-free calls directly from the watch or pick up their Galaxy devices to interact with friends and associates more fully. Apple has no immediate plans to respond to this new gadget, so Samsung could capture this emerging market.
3.) “It’s Time to Change” campaign
The campaign explores clueless Damien’s growing realisation that his iPhone is no longer so cool, and all his friends are switching to the Galaxy GS4.
- It’s time to change: This teaser introduces the concept by suggesting that the last of Damien’s holdout friends has now switched to Samsung and landed a beautiful foreign date who speaks no English, but fortunately, the Galaxy’s translation application makes it easy for the couple to communicate.
- Everyone’s Changing: This ad shows Damien confessing to his girlfriend that he fears that everybody is changing, but she barely listens because she is too busy talking on her GS4. Damien’s date’s girlfriends arrive and suggest that Damien is getting older but that switching to the GS4 could solve problems such as a dead-end job, receding hairline and his weight problem. The video shows how effortless using the GS4 can be, but Damien stubbornly pretends to gag.
- Boom: Friends try to persuade Damien to update his style and change his phone to enjoy cool features such as automatic charging and instant sharing of photos and videos by touching phones together. Damien’s friends poke gentle fun of his dated fashion sense, and he responds by telling them to jump in a lake with their Galaxy GS4s. Damien’s friends suggest that doing so wouldn’t cause them any hardships because the GS4 is completely waterproof. The best line of the campaign is the suggestion that changing phones is like supersizing from a kid’s junior burger to an adult-sized sandwich. The boom in the title refers to the phone’s easy charging capability by using the convenient charging pad.
You can find view more Samsung ads at Samsung TV Australia. Samsung’s ads generally promote the idea that the next big thing is already here, which is a strategy that co-opts Apple’s famous advertising slogan.
Making fun of iPhone users for Australian audiences
Statistics indicate that Samsung has gained on Apple in smartphone sales in Australia in 2012, but Apple iPads dominated sales in the first quarter of 2013. Samsung’s aggressive advertising campaign seems to be winning the hearts and minds of Aussie consumers who enjoy feeling like rebels and fighting authority. Despite the fact that Samsung is a major conglomerate of companies that manufactures products for the living room, kitchen and laundry room, the company has a unique opportunity to take command of smart technology by slaving home appliances to mobile devices so that consumers get warnings when their meals are cooked or their clothes are dry.
Australians love a good hoax
Samsung could come out ahead by losing the battle and winning the war for consumer hearts and minds. Even the jury-award pay-off hoax resonates well with Australian audiences who appreciate a good hoax almost as much as favourable truth. Although critics suggest that aggressive advertising that insults iPhone and iPad users could backfire, Aussie audiences relish a good fight and feel that Apple started the war with their patent lawsuits.
The history of Australia has been marked by hoaxes, scams and misinformation, but Australians take pride in their heritage and enjoy historical deceptions. A good example of this attitude is the classic story Australians tell visitors about drop bears, which are tree-dwelling marsupials native to the Australian continent. Australians tell tourists that the best way to deter drop bears is to spread Vegemite on your neck and ears, lie under a tree and spit up until a drop bear spits back. Other popular hoaxes involve historic political figures, aborigines and even the origins of the phrase “the lucky country” that was intended as an insult but that Australians embraced as their unofficial slogan.
Samsung leapfrogs Apple in Australia
Android devices in general and Samsung in particular have registered sales gains since the feud between Apple and Samsung began, which suggests that Samsung’s adverting strategy is working. Previously, Apple customers in Australia were extraordinarily loyal, and the company’s phones remained at the top of the sales charts.
- Quarterly sales figures from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech show that Android devices have 64 percent of the market.
- Australian iOS sales have fallen more dramatically than in any other country.
- Apple devices held on longer in Australia than in other countries, but statistics show that Australians are increasingly changing to Android like the rest of the world.
Samsung has made steady gains, but so has Apple. Figures for 2013 should show dramatic increases for Samsung and erosion for Apple devices in Australia. Obviously, things can change rapidly just like Samsung suggests in its ads, but Apple could stage a comeback if consumers perceive that Samsung’s ads have become too aggressive or unfair.
In Britain, a judge took the unusual action of declaring Apple tablets cooler than Samsung’s devices. Of course, this kind of proselytising from the bench could convince Australians to take the polar-opposite view. According to the International Business Times, Samsung dominates the smartphone market worldwide, but Apple holds the edge in tablet devices.
Regardless of your personal take on the feud, these patent issues could have major effects on the technology market, but these consequences might not be entirely negative. Already, price wars have lowered the prices of phones and tablets globally, and the popular Android operating system encourages developers to create cutting-edge mobile devices if they can avoid paying the trolls that try to capitalise on questionable design patents and esoteric technical advances that average people don’t really understand. Sure, Samsung is trolling Apple, but the company’s heavy-handed tactics and litigious attitude justify the response. Consumers expect fast technology breakthroughs in the digital age, and all this litigation hurts business and slows progress.