Badvertising: Does Samsung Really Want You to Make a Sex Tape?

by Randall Cleveland

There are people whose livelihoods depend on crafting advertising that speaks to you, the average college-educated white male aged 18-35. So when it goes awry we like to present it here, in a little column called Badvertising, so we can all laugh and say, "No seriously. WTF?"


The ad:
A yuppie-ish bearded dad says goodbye to his family before heading off on a business trip. His adorable daughters joyfully exclaim that they made him a video, which they transfer to his phone via the "amazing" sync technology. As he hops in his cab, his loving wife leans in to mention that she made a video of her own for him to enjoy. Then, because Samsung isn't sure you got that reference as they beat you over the head with it, she adds, "Probably shouldn't watch it on the plane."

This ad is shot in that generic Instagram-looking fuzzy filter that all tech commercials use nowadays, and it's generic enough that I think most people glaze over it and don't hear that part at the end where the ad suggests how great this would be for sharing pornographic videos with loved ones. I first saw it over the weekend and three people I asked had to watch it again to pay enough attention to hear the wife's dialogue. Then all three responded with the exact same phrase:

"What. The. F---?"

Setting aside the dubious usefulness of "sharing playlists" or whatever (I can already see that's a feature you'll use maybe once, after you finally track down someone with the same phone, just to see it work and say you've done it before forgetting all about it), is this really what advertising has come to? I realize I might sound sort of like the elderly grandfather complaining about Elvis's gyrating hips, but come on. I get it: sexting is ubiquitous; do we really need to revel in it? And I say this as someone who fully supports your right to ruin your aspirations for political office and gainful employment via sending pictures of your naked body via SMS. As long as everyone's of age and consenting, I say go for it. Although given all the attention given to cell phone companies storing your data secretly and people being located and harassed by internet vigilantes thanks to the EXIF data in their phone pictures, I can't say I'd take the chance.

But as far as advertising a phone, stick to the cute photos of families and frolicking children. Everyone already knows whether or not they're going to use the 800MegaPixel camera for something filthy and indecent; we don't need advice from a gigantic Korean corporation about it. Who does this ad speak to? Sexually repressed young parents on business trips? That's a pretty niche market. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of hormonal teenagers are asking for Samsung Galaxy phones this Christmas, but I guess that's kind of the point.