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Samsung Super Bowl Ad Jabs at Apple over Patent Suits
By Jennifer LeClaire
Posted: February 1, 2013 12:35pm PST

Samsung's Super Bowl commercial features a back-and-forth between a lawyer and two workers about not being able to say the words "Super Bowl." Why? Because it's trademarked. "Why can't we say...?" one employee asks. "We could get sued!" the lawyer exclaims, by "everybody, nobody, who knows?" It's an obvious jab at Apple over its ongoing patent war.

While Samsung waits for a judge to decide whether to reduce a $1.05 billion damage award in a patent lawsuit that Apple won, the company is turning to social media -- and Super Bowl Sunday -- to take a few jabs at the iPhone maker.

Samsung's Super Bowl advertisement -- which is already posted on YouTube -- is only about a minute long, but uses every second to get its message across. The video has generated more than 1.7 million views and is sure to win more eyeballs as game day arrives.

Beyond the viral power of the ad, it will, of course, air during the National Football League's championship game on Sunday. That means multiple millions get to see how an electronics giant that's been spurned in court teases a technology icon.

The San Francisco 50-Minus-Oners?

The ad shows three American men sitting around a table in a large, modern conference room. The lawyer declares, "Here we are, guys, Samsung. The next big thing. You two...ideas?"

The two employees, with phones sitting on the table in front of them, pause. One of them says, "We know, it's gotta be big cause it's for the S...." At that moment, the lawyer cuts him off with a loud "shhh." The commercial continues with a back-and-forth between the lawyer and the employees about not being able to say the words "Super Bowl."

Why? Because it's trademarked.

"Why can't we say...?" the employee asks.

"We could get sued!" the lawyer exclaims, by "everybody, nobody, who knows?"

The commercial goes on to show a comical discussion about what they can and can't say. The gist of it is they can say Baltimore Black Birds but not Ravens, and San Francisco 50-Minus-Oners but not 49ers. And instead of Super Bowl, they are supposed to say "the Big Game."

The result: "We're planning a commercial for the Big Plate between the San Francisco 50-Minus-Oners and the Baltimore Black Birds." At the end of the commercial, we see white letters on a black background that simply say, "Samsung GALAXY."

Do You Get It?

Comedians Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Bob Odenkirk did a fine job playing off each other in the mock brainstorming session over the Super Bowl ad. Although the ad never mentions Apple -- and may indeed fly over the head of many consumers who don't keep pace with the patent lawsuits in the industry -- it may still cause them to chuckle.

Many commenters on YouTube seemed to get it.

"I'm afraid this ad is too complicated to understand for the general public," said Bernd Lauert on YouTube. Others on the comment string began warring over which phone was better. So vehement were the arguments that YouTube actually hid some of the comments because they received too many negative votes, which is the viral video site's policy.

Still, it's clear to industry watchers and to Apple that Samsung is jabbing at the iPhone maker. And it's clear to some consumers who have observed the blow by blow.

"I love Samsung's humor at their own lawsuit. Now they're being extra careful about anything that could be misconstrued to be willful copyright infringement," commented Rori L'Ambivalence on the video. Another commenter named Tatha Mondal wrote, "This commercial screwed Apple."

Apple could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Dama:

Posted: 2013-02-04 @ 7:07am PT
I think their commercial fell flat. Most of the people I watched with didn't get it.

Bea:

Posted: 2013-02-02 @ 10:29am PT
That's kind of strange for an add and at that time. It might backfire on them also. The iPhone outsold Samsung for the first time ever this last quarter. It will hit many people the wrong way. I use Samsung and Apple products and this just hit me the wrong way, so it would make me less likely to buy from Samsung.


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