FORTUNE-Two i-phone greats have launched a mother of all media wars claiming to be the greatest and more in superior mode than the other, as sales and awareness campaigns are taking a new dimension in advertisement onslaught.
In case you missed it, the raging smartphone wars entered a new phase recently with the introduction of the latest Samsung phone- to challenge Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone line.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 may not be available for sale for another five or six weeks, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung from pouring millions into a promotional campaign or Apple from launching a few ‘pre-emptive strikes’.
Following the Galaxy S4’s big-budget debut at Radio City Music Hall — a show that got a bang in terms of media attention but backfired when the press got around to reviewing it — Samsung put up a website and long (4:23) YouTube video to show off the phone’s manifold new features. The website is so-so, but the video is well thought out and judging from the view count (1.8 million as of Sunday morning) and the excited comments (assuming they’re real and not astroturf) it’s doing its job.
Apple’s approach has been more low-budget. Before the Radio City event, it used its leverage with the press to maximum benefit, sending its marketing VP out to do a pair of interview (Wall St. Journal and Reuters) that were picked up by a couple dozen media outlets.
After the event, Apple put up a new webpage extolling the virtues of the iPhone and began sending links to some of the hundreds of millions of people on its e-mail list.
The webpage is classic Apple design work and puts Samsung’s to shame. But the closest thing Apple has to Samsung’s viral YouTube video are a pair of five-day old iPhone TV ads, neither of which has cracked half a million views.
Round one goes to Samsung, I suppose, which isn’t a surprise considering how much money the South Korean manufacturing giant put into it. But you have to wonder whether spending a fortune in March to promote a product that won’t be available until April is the best use of anybody’s resources.
Samsung, famous for flattering Apple by imitation, has taken the Broadway metaphor quite literally. For a recent launch of the Galaxy S4 — its high-end answer to Apple’s iPhone line — Samsung has commanded the oversized stage of Radio City Music Hall for the main event and will host the spill-over crowd in New York City’s Times Square.
Its almost as if the two companies — engaged in a global battle for command of the $400 billion mobile device industry — are moving in opposite directions. Apple in its marketing and advertising has become quieter and more modest, hoping its products and services will speak for themselves.
Samsung, meanwhile, is going bigger and brasher, hiring the big halls and the dancers and mocking Apple — and itself — in TV ads loaded with attitude.
On the eve of the Galaxy S4 launch, scheduled to begin Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT, Samsung sent its dancers into Times Square for an impromptu flash-mob-style preview.
Apple, which is usually content to ignore its competitors’ efforts, sent Phil Schiller, its senior VP for marketing, to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters for a bit of uncharacteristic counter programming.
Schiller didn’t address Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy line directly, but he did point out that most Android phones are cheap knock-offs given as free replacements for feature phones, and that Apple’s research showed that last quarter four times as many iPhone users switchedfrom an Android phone than to an Android phone.
I wasn’t on the press list to receive an invitation for the Galaxy S4 event, but when I asked politely, Samsung’s marketing people were kind enough to give me one. If the gods of Wi-Fi permit, I’ll be live blogging tonight from inside Radio City Music Hall.
Source: CNN Money