Is Samsung 'mentally enslaving' Indian smartphone buyers with its ads?

Let’s face it. We can never sit through a TV show – a saas-bahu saga or an IPL match – without an advertisement of a Samsung Product flashing by at least once. Viewers will be familiar with dialogues like “I paid 0 for my Samsung Galaxy S3” and “Aapke paas nahin hai, uncle?” that are a part of these ads. So, is the Korean company’s constant bombardment of advertisement “mentally enslaving” Indians?

According to a report by Barron’s Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry, other brands like Apple have a tough time in India than other markets because it is “outmarketed” by BlackBerry and Samsung Electronics. Apple’s products are not just being outmarketed but even outsold by Samsung.

Chowdhry, in his report, is of the opinion that Apple has been so far unable to garner the “elite” brand image that BlackBerry and Samsung has cultivated. “Samsung and Blackberry have constantly advertised themselves as the ‘elite’ ones. In this way, they create an environment where they tend to mentally enslave the consumer to buy their products,” says Chowdry.

Aapke paas Samsung nahin hai, Uncle?

Samsung or no Samsung, we'd be mentally enslaved to her!


He says that as far as advertising is concerned, one is likely to see a Samsung ad every 15 minutes on TV, while Apple’s ads are rarely aired. “Apple Ads are only flashed at the time when a new iPhone is being launched,” Chowdhry opines.

While his observations about Samsung’s advertisement are pretty correct, calling it “mentally enslaving” the Indian audience is pulling it a tad too far – not to mention the term is slightly more than insulting. There are a lot more factors than just advertising that go into the sales of a product. Samsung has far more phones in every single price-point in the market than Apple does.

Also,  it’s slightly amusing to note that Chowdhry groups BlackBerry in the same category as Samsung. Except the one advertisement that was aired around the time of the Z10 launch, we’ve rarely seen BlackBerry advertisements on TV in India.

Chowdhry also claims that despite the elite branding, consumers buy a Samsung phone thinking they’re getting a “cheaper iPhone”. He says that about 80 percent of the people Barron’s surveyed had no idea what the terms iCloud, Facetime and iMessage are. “The Indian consumer cannot really differentiate between Apple and other brands, which offer most of their products at half the price of that of the Apple products,” he notes.

About 60 million people – “the total population of the UK” – in India can apparently afford an Apple product, out of a population of a billion. Apple can indeed fix whatever marketing issues it has in the country and aim at selling higher volumes.

Speaking of high-impact smartphone ads, check out our list of five cheap ones from hell.

Published Date: May 17, 2013 19:51 PM | Updated Date: May 17, 2013 19:51 PM