Three things of note about the Galaxy Note Super Bowl ad

Samsung paid more than $10 million to tell you, loudly, about a new stylus-based mini-tablet. Because they could.

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The cost

Samsung’s Galaxy Note ad ran during an even that was charging around $3.5 million for 30 seconds of air time. Assuming some kind of discount for buying three 30-second slots, there’s still the cost of the extras, the stunts, the gospel choir, the small marching band, the confetti, the use of a popular song (more on that in a bit), and the fee for Bobby Farrelly, of the Farrelly brothers directing duo that brought us “There’s Something About Mary,” to direct the clip. So let’s guess that it’s about $12 million all told. Why does Samsung do that, to promote one device, without announcing what networks it will be offered on, or when it will be released?

Two reasons: one, because it can afford it. The other, more salient reason, is that Samsung, like other Android-reliant device makers, feels it needs to differentiate its products, especially compared to Apple.

The song

You probably remember it, if you’re of an age to buy a $200 device with a two-year contract. But just in case, it’s “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, and it’s by a band that straddles the line of ironic splendor and genuine enthusiasm for a slightly higher breed of 1980’s hair metal, with a definite sense of humor. That was actually The Darkness’ own frontman Justin Hawkins in the clip, despite my hopes that it wasn’t. That song was a wonderful, refreshing quirk of music in 2003, and I’ve only rarely heard it since, usually in Guitar Hero or Rock Band sessions.

The of-its-time song and its tone felt a bit wedged into the Galaxy Note spot, which led off with a retread of Samsung’s Apple-fan-mocking setup. Apple enthusiasts certainly believe in a thing called love. It’s hard to imagine breaking out the spandex and high-neck arpeggiated solos for a tube of plastic with a carbonized rubber tip.

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