Despite the Galaxy S4's status as a highly anticipated phone that, frankly, is probably good enough to sell without any marketing gimmicks, Samsung can't seem to get a launch for the device right.
In March, the company staged a bizarrely sexist series of skits in New York City for the phone's U.S. launch. Then, for the S4's recent launch in India, the Korean phone-maker put on a rendition of Psy's "Gangnam Style" involving women dancing in glittery skirts and not much else.
According to India Today, this is Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh doing his best Psy impression, replacing the phrase "Gangnam Style" with "Samsung Style," at a hotel in Mumbai. It's hard to imagine folks deciding to line up around the block to buy a smartphone because they heard lyrics like:
If you like the S3, then this phone is even better
It has an HD screen, and it's just a lot slimmer
441 ppi is not just a number
Look at this clarity, it's brighter!
But that's not all. The performance also included this take on Carly Ray Jespen's "Call Me Maybe," The Verge points out. While the audio is difficult to make out, the lyrics "Here's my Samsung / So call me, maybe" are apparent.
Poor songwriting aside, if Samsung or any electronics-maker thinks it needs barely-dressed women to make sales, it has bigger problems than a potential lemon of a gadget. (And again, the S4, the successor of the best-selling Galaxy S3, is a good phone.) In March, a South African promotional event for Samsung refrigerators and washing machines was criticized for featuring swimsuit-clad women. Also that month, Samsung's U.S. launch event for the S4 was filled with equally cringeworthy moments. One skit had a group of women getting hot and bothered after a man took off his shirt. ("While the women are cooling down, why don't you tell us about S Health?") Another made the phone's case to women by claiming how easy it would be to use while drying their fingernails.
The saddest part of Samsung's marketing campaign is that it does everything to undermine the company's clever "Next Big Thing" TV ads, which gently mock Apple fanboys and have been rewarded with praise and with views on YouTube.
Samsung, stick to making TV spots. And cell phones.