Over the past few years, an interesting trend has occurred in the smartphone market. It started in the April before last, when Apple filed a monumental lawsuit against Samsung, based on allegations that it had copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad with certain Galaxy products.
Samsung, since that point, has emerged as the de facto competitor to Apple. Subsequently, the rivalry between iPhone versus Android began to shift towards iPhone versus Samsung, or the Galaxy S III in particular. But Samsung’s legal disputes with Apple isn’t the only reason that happened.
According to research firm Kantar Media, Samsung spent a whopping $401 million towards marketing in 2012; in the year prior, the South Korean handset maker had spent only $78 million. These numbers apply to U.S. mobile phone ad spending across television, print, billboards and Internet.
Samsung has launched a number of successful advertising campaigns in the last year, highlighted by its controversial “The Next Big Thing is Already Here” series. It also ran a provocative commercial—twice—for its Galaxy S III smartphone, and had a social campaign backfire in favor of the iPhone.
Apple too spent a large number of ad dollars last year, increasing its budget from $253 million in 2011 to $333 million in 2012. Apple commercials tend to promote own-brand products like the iPhone and iPad, however, so its ads are mired in far less controversy than what its rival Samsung produces.
While much can be said about Samsung’s advertising tactics, as not everyone agrees with its decisions to mock iPhone users or BlackBerry in the enterprise, the company has seen its market share explode in the past few years. The bottom line is that it is working.