Live

Watch CBSN Live

Samsung: We Put Our Pretend Customers Against Apple's Real Ones

You've heard of virtual worlds, but imaginary customers? This is apparently Samsung's new weapon in trying to help its Galaxy Tab tablet compete with the Apple (AAPL) iPad.

Technologizer writer Harry McCracken was watching video clips from the "Samsung Galaxy Tab Interview Project" during the announcement of a new version of the Galaxy Tab. Many people may assume that testimonials are generally fake, and when not advertising the subjects as real people with actual names and professions, they are. It's like watching a slice-of-life television commercial for consumer products. No one thinks that Madge from the old Palmolive spots was actually a manicurist.

However, when marketers start listing names, occupations, and locations, they cross a line and are effectively stating that what you hear comes from the mouths of actual customers. Except, as with Samsung, when it doesn't.

McCracken thought something seemed odd during these particular interviews of freelance travel writer Joan Hess, independent film director Karl Shefelman, and New York real estate firm CEO Joseph Kolinksi:

As I watched the interviews, I noticed that Shefelman spoke and behaved more or less like a normal person, but Hess and Kolinksi came off as performers dressed for their parts and parroting Samsung talking points. I couldn't tell whether we were supposed to take the clips as a documentary or a mockumentary.

Watch the clip and you see what he means. How does a camera crew get into a limo with CEO Kolinksi? The whole thing screams industrial video.

Some online searches showed that Hess and Kolinski were actually actors, while Shefelman really was a film director -- working for a production company that has Samsung as a client. Someone reading McCracken's post pointed out something else: that a simulated magazine "profiling" Kolinski actually had lifted its text from McCracken's Galaxy Tab review in Time that ran last fall.

This is just too embarrassing and ridiculous to resist, especially as Samsung had that incident where a representative was misquoted as saying that sales out of the channel and into consumer hands was "quite small." She had actually said "quite smooth." However, there is no mistranslation of the company's video.

Was someone at Samsung actually a Steve Jobs disciple who decided that maybe the Galaxy Tab might offer competition and through that a marketing monkey wrench was in order? Or are its marketing and PR groups that out of touch with each other and, maybe, reality?

Related:

Image: morgueFile user keyseeker.

View CBS News In