Ever wondered what’s common among all the major tech companies, apart from their knowledge of the field? Their sense of sarcasm. There’s a very good reason why I brought up this topic. The tech space is highly dynamic in nature and is characterized by cut-throat competition, and companies go to any extent to prove their superiority. Recently I was going through a news article where Samsung (SSNLF) mocked Apple (AAPL) by taking up the ice bucket challenge and nominated the iPhone maker and a few others, and this triggered my thought process. I felt it would be interesting to browse through the memory bank and pull out some instances of such sarcastic brilliance.
The latest Ice Bucket Challenge
The ice bucket challenge has become something very popular, and there’s no doubt that anyone and everyone has heard of it. Folks at Samsung saw what’s going on with the challenge, and they brilliantly formulated an ad that helps them to mock Apple, HTC and Nokia (NOK). I personally found the initiative to be very smart of the Korean phonemaker. They were able to make their point in a smooth and hilarious manner, grabbing the attention of viewers across the world.
How the challenge works is, someone takes up the challenge and performs it and then nominates someone else to do it. Now this person who gets nominated can either take up the challenge within 24 hours or forfeit it and accept defeat. Anyone who forfeits the challenge will have to part with a charitable financial donation to help nonprofit organizations battle the degenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The ice bucket challenge was invented in the first place to raise awareness about ALS and collect donations. What Samsung did is make a video of the Galaxy S5 handset taking up the ice bucket challenge and at the end of it nominated the iPhone 5S, HTC 1M8 and Lumia 930, mocking each of the phonemakers. Those who haven’t had the time to check out the ad can do so on YouTube. What would be interesting is to see how Apple responds to it.
‘Don’t get Scroogled’ initiative of Microsoft
During the 2012 holiday season, Microsoft (MSFT) came up with an innovative campaign to keep customers from flocking to Google’s (GOOG) search engine. The Windows maker had launched a full-blown website called Scroogled!, where the company clearly outlined how the users can be misled by Google search engine. Microsoft’s claim was that Google was providing search results not on the basis of search query matches but on the basis of payments received to highlight ad results. This was an attempt by the Redmond company to promote its search engine Bing. The site is still operational and comes up with updates on how not to get scroogled by Google offerings and how Microsoft’s offerings are different.
BlackBerry’s attack on Apple and Apple’s counterattack
Back in 2009, when BlackBerry (BBRY) was still in the smartphone game, it had launched an ad to promote BlackBerry Storm, the Canadian phonemaker’s first touch-screen smartphone. The ad started by showing an apple (fruit) and a speeding blackberry (fruit again) that hit the apple and passed right through it. Right after this scene, a message was displayed introducing the Storm handset and said, “Nothing can touch it.” The ad was directed towards iPhone 3GS. BlackBerry wanted to make a statement to attract the attention of the smartphone buyers.
However, Apple came up with an intelligent way to snatch back the attention. Apple’s ad looked the same, and there was an apple (fruit) and a speeding blackberry. However, this time when the blackberry hit the apple, it didn’t pass through. Instead, it crumbled into pieces. The ad ended with a message from Apple that said, “Simple facts.” Anyone interested can check out both the ads on YouTube.
These instances of sarcasm are not just fun acts pulled off to have a little laugh. Rather, these hint at the cold war that’s going on between the tech mammoths. On the outside every company is looking calm and composed, but there’s a violent storm that’s raging inside. Through these attempts, each company is trying to show off their supremacy on one point or the other. The latest effort from Samsung screams out to the audience, saying, "Look, I have something that the iPhone 5S doesn’t. Come to me."