last year’s 

The iPhone maker is many things to many people and it is easy to overlook Apple’s powerful marketing amidst the popularity of its gadgets. Yet, the two are inseparably intertwined. No wonder well-known names in business are (again) taking cues from Apple’s marketing cookbook, including United States specialty retailer of consumer electronics Best Buy that uncharacteristically decided to break away from the usual Super Bowl advertising featuring celebrities, which seems to be norm these days.

Instead, its new approach calls for celebrating technology innovators, a concept Apple popularized back in 1997 with the “Think Different” campaign. According to Bloomberg, the retailer opted to feature Silicon Valley inventors, such as Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom and camera phone pioneer Philippe Kahn who will help bring home the message at Sunday’s big game. From the mouth of Best Buy’s Marketing Chief Drew Panayiotou:

Big brands like to hire celebrities. We looked at everyone from George Clooney to Stephen Colbert. We believe the inventors are more than enough. I give those 125 million viewers a lot of credit. I think they’ll appreciate the story. [...] They may not be at the same level as Steve Jobs, but they created some amazing stuff.

Eagle-eyed readers could point out that the retailer last holiday season aired Apple-focused adverts promoting its store-within-a-store displays, seen below. However, Best Buy’s latest creative concept marks a departure from its past Super Bowl campaigns that tapped celebrities, such as heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne and teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. Meanwhile, a Taiwanese vendor is treading the fine line between originality and a display of disrespectfulness by featuring a Steve Jobs imitator to drum up excitement for its upcoming Android slab. Check it out that commercial in a clip included right after the break.

Action Electronics, the maker of a 7-inch 1.2GHz Android 2.3.3 tablet called the “Action Pad,” recently began airing a television commercial depicting a high-profile Apple product launch. It sports a Steve Jobs impersonator with angel wings and a halo, proclaiming the Action Pad “amazing,” which —as you know— was among Steve’s favorite adjectives to describe Apple’s latest gadget. “Finally, I can play with another pad,” the actor proclaimed.

Apple famously refuses not to participate in the Super Bowl advertising craze, sans the now legendary “1984” commercial that aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII (and the poorly performing “Lemmings” one that followed). As you know, it introduced the Macintosh to the world and to date remains one of the most effective commercials in the history of advertising. Unlike Apple, Samsung is focused on pushing its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note with its first-ever Super Bowl advert.

Of course, over the past years, many companies have attempted emulating the Mac maker’s memorable marketing communications and some competitors take Apple head on—the latest example being the Galaxy S II campaign dubbed “Samsunged”. By doing so, Samsung of Korea hopes its anti-Apple message will earn the company accolades with prospective buyers. Another tongue-in-cheek example: Verizon’s “Payload” commercial evoking its previous “iDon’t” and “Pretty” adverts that put Android on the smartphone map.

Speaking to AllThingsD’s Ina Fried, Samsung head of marketing Younghee Lee acknowledged Samsung’s new marketing strategy. She said the company’s marketing department is now focused on communicating the benefits of Samsung products in nontechnical terms rather than bombard customers with long list of features. A former employee of cosmetics brands L’Oreal and Lancôme, Lee acknowledged the power of the Apple brand, and said people everywhere and “Especially in the U.S. are obsessed with Apple.” The executive is keen on stealing some of Apple’s advertising thunder and brand value, alluding “It’s time to change people’s attention.”

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