Galaxy S III is Samsung’s iPhone moment

Samsung’s latest smartphone, the third iteration in its Galaxy series, looks set to be the Korean company’s iPhone moment.

Lara O'Reilly

A Steve Jobs-esque strategy was instigated from the very moment the press conference was announced. The event was shrouded with an air of mystery, save for a series of teaser online videos taking aim at rivals’ customers for being sheep.

And the unveil itself: never before has such a crowd witnessed, or cared, about a Samsung phone launch. Earl’s Court was packed to the rafters with all manner of media and geekery, eagerly discussing quad core and mega pixels between the Professor Frink-like “gahoys”.

Samsung has rightly earned such fanboy status, having last month overtaken Nokia to become the world’s biggest phone maker by volume. But, like Apple, it isn’t quantity that has seen Samsung rise from the depths of the phone market to become the dominating player; it is attention to detail, and no more so than in its marketing strategy.

Casting more similarities to its Cupertino-based competitor, Samsung even had its “and one more thing” moment at the Galaxy S III launch.

Arguably, the reveal of its “Pins” – a series of snazzy-looking pop up shops set to spring up across the globe to showcase its products – isn’t as exciting as an iPad, but for me, this really demonstrated a renewed marketing commitment, never before seen from Samsung.

Samsung told me it intends to become more of an “aspirational” phone brand that appeals to everyone, not just those types that literally sprinted to be the first to get their hands on the S III at Earls Court last night (3 May). It is also aiming to far outsell the 20 million Galaxy SII phones it has shipped since last year, as it looks to become the smartphone of choice and convince Apple users over to its brand.

To do so, Samsung knows it can’t rely on the specifications of its innovative technology alone and subsequently it has upped its marketing investment to its higher ever levels in a bid to get every consumer rushing to grab their own handset on 30 May.

This is evident in Samsung’s forthcoming global TV campaign, which once again draws similarities with Apple.

Rather than a running narrative or even shoving its celebrity ambassadors into the spotlight like some of its rivals, Samsung runs through a list of everyday scenarios made better by using its phone.

The ad doesn’t mention specifications at all, uses emotional messaging and heart-tugging scenes, such as reading a bed time story, having a cuddle or giving birth (well, perhaps they’re not every day scenarios). The takeaway is that this isn’t a phone, it’s a life enhancer that is intuitive enough to use for even smarpthone virgins. The phone itself is secondary to the sentiment.

The emotional theme is likely to run into Samsung’s Olympic marketing and the company heralded the S III, the official phone of the Games, as its “gold medal winner”.

If ever the smartphone market was a two phone race, it is now.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here