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Competing Commercials: BlackBerry’s Z10 vs Samsung’s Next Big Thing

Samsung the old established and BlackBerry the new upstart. My how things have changed form a decade ago. Last night’s Super Bowl featured commercials by both the well known brands and we pit them against each other to see which company got the right mixture of maintaining the viewer’s interest and delivering on their message.


Attention Meter

BlackBerry chose to go with humor and bank on their commercial being just aloof enough that when viewers wake up they will talk with their friends and colleagues about what they had just witnessed. I get it, you want to keep the conversation going. Sadly I asked those around me what did they think about it the commercial. They all walked away being confused and really had moved on from the moment. This was no more than 5 minutes after the commercial aired.

Samsung chose to go the celebrity endorsed route. They managed to do so in a unique way though. Their celebrity actors added unique value to the commercial. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen both have unique comedic timing and are at the top of their game. LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. His millions of followers will keep the Samsung commercial trending for quite some time. That is lasting and added value.

Delivering The Message

BlackBerry’s commercial was met with mixed reaction online. The vast majority of the BlackBerry enthusiast community championed the commercial while some strayed from the pack and said it was confusing and an epic fail. Certainly since I’ve been paying attention to BlackBerry & the Z10 I should’ve gotten the point right? Not so fast. I was sure they spent the commercial trying to show the quickness that you can “Peek” at your notifications or get to your BlackBerry Hub. I was wrong. BlackBerry wanted to show that the phone does so many things it is easier to show what it can’t do. In an unusual, but telling, step BlackBerry’s Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben did a special edition YouTube video add-on to their Super Bowl commercial and in his words they wanted to”let America know that BlackBerry is back and that BlackBerry 10 is worth checking out.” So I leave it to the readers to decide if the commercial delivers. “The new BlackBerry Z10” is all the commercial said while the phone was displayed less than 3 seconds at the end.

Samsung’s Next Big Thing Commercial was also received in mixed fashion though mostly positive. Samsung wanted to keep the message simple and pretty much pound the “Next Big Thing” into the viewer’s head. They were simply continuing to build on the awareness and goodwill the Samsung brand. It was both comical and reinforcing that will get the viewer to continue to associate “Next Big Thing” with Samsung. During the 2 minute long commercial the word Samsung was used five times, Next Big Thing seven times, S-Pen once, Galaxy once, S-Beam once. They managed to show off the ability to use the S-Pen in a functional and fun way. Kids and sports fans hear LeBron James’s name and take notice.

Wrap Up

BlackBerry’s re-introduction to the American consumer audience was needed. The brand name has taken a beaten over the past couple years and the iPhone and Android Army of devices have dominated the market. BlackBerry’s CMO Frank Boulben laid out two objectives that needed to be met for the commercial to have succeeded. The first, letting America know that BlackBerry is back, succeeded if only partially. I don’t think anybody in America ever thought they left just that there were better phones and platforms to use. The second, establishing that BlackBerry 10 is worth checking out, failed epically. First off, there was no mentioning of BlackBerry 10 nor did the commercial show any user features or interaction with BlackBerry 10 OS.

Samsung delivered a commercial that continued to build on the branding and success of the Galaxy line of devices and the Next Big Thing theme they’ve been pushing to amazing success. Both the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II have benefited greatly from this massive advertising push built around the Next Big Thing theme. Their Super Bowl add was comical, long enough so that even those who got up to use the restroom or grab another beverage and food could get back and still get the gist and identify with the product.

Samsung wins this hands down.

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