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Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Is Samsung copying Apple with its “Do What You Can’t” message?

Campaigns

Is Samsung copying Apple with its “Do What You Can’t” message?

Fresh off its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone reveal, Samsung will challenge the youngest generation – Gen Z – to “Do What You Can’t”. During the Oscars, the company debuted its latest ad, which highlights a slew of relative unknowns with the potential of eventually becoming household names.

The spot features people like Rachel Morrison, who is the first woman ever to receive a nomination for an Oscar in cinematography.

The 60-second spot was created by Wieden & Kennedy Portland and opens with two bored Gen Z girls sitting on their bed, telling each other that they “should make something.” The video then follows with a diverse group who challenge the duo to think different.

“Do what you can’t,” the commercial says at the end.

The theme of daring to do something, says Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice-president and principal analyst for brands at Forrester, is nothing new. “Steve Jobs lays claim to it from 1997’s “Think Different,” but it is an evergreen theme – we are all the same in that we all want to be different.”

READ: Apple’s first local campaign focuses on Eid

Many who make an appearance in Samsung’s latest ad have limited followings. Akilah Hughes, for example, is a young woman who performs YouTube comedy sketches and vlogs to her roughly 165,000 subscribers. Another, Nigel Sylvester, is a BMX athlete known for creating intense videos, such as the one where he jumps off a plane with his bike in Dubai.

The commercial targets vulnerabilities as it touches on themes like regret, making mistakes and being passed over while also focusing on overcoming obstacles.

“A brand must stay current to stay relevant, and this is Samsung’s way of embracing today’s undercurrent and shining a ray of hope,” says Chatterjee.

The #MeToo movement is expected to be a theme at this year’s Oscars, but there is also the potential of teens who demand change in gun control to be highlighted in the US. “High-school children who are on the streets are making their voices heard about gun control, moving corporate behemoths like Dick’s and Walmart to action,” Chatterjee says. “What better audiences to showcase “Do What You Can’t?””

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Samsung has been on a winning streak after handling what was perhaps the biggest PR debacle for a brand in recent memory. From phones that caught fire to washing machines reported to injure their owners and a scandal that toppled the president of South Korea, Samsung has somehow managed to come out on top – and generate record-breaking profit in the process.

In its most recent earnings report, the company reported its third consecutive quarter of record profit. Samsung said it generated $14 billion in quarterly profit on January 30, a 64 percent gain year-over-year.

In 2016, Samsung spent $2.1 billion in measured media in the US, which is flat from the previous year, according to Kantar.

 

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