We learned yesterday from patent trial evidence that Samsung was worried about running ads that directly attacked Apple, wanting Google to do it for them. We now know that it was the death of Steve Jobs which prompted Samsung’s change of mind, running the Next Big Thing ads which directly mocked Apple customers.

An email trail shows that Samsung America’s VP of U.S. sales Mike Pennington cynically described the death of Jobs as “the best opportunity” to run the campaign, as consumers might be worried about Apple’s future product innovations following the death of its famous co-founder.

Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone …

Chief marketing officer Todd Pendleton replied, giving the go-ahead:

Hey Michael, We are going to execute what you are recommending in our holiday [Galaxy S2] campaign and go head to head with iPhone 4S.

The Wall Street Journal posted the complete trail as a PDF.

It was earlier revealed that Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller was so concerned about these ads that he emailed Tim Cook to suggest a change of ad agency to fight back. That didn’t happen, though Apple is currently planning to expand its line-up of digital agencies.

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58 Responses to “Death of Steve Jobs prompted Samsung’s U-turn on Apple attack ads”

  1. themis333 says:

    While I get it from a competitive business perspective, I really despise their tactics. Shameful. Compete with great products. No need to play dirty.

  2. shm1ck83 says:

    They should respect the man and company they copied

  3. It’s regrettable that Apple does fight back Samsung with ethics. Samsung is just a crooked company which never play on ethics and moral values. I would have developed few more suppliers and gotten rid of them completely. No one on earth gives Samsung so much money in advance for what they make and sell.

  4. Best move Samsung ever made. It was a GREAT campaign and a HUGE turning point for Samsung.

    • 3monkies says:

      Shows what sort of low life you are…

    • bboysupaman says:

      I disagree. I don’t think this campaign was a turning point at all. The turning point was simply the fact that they have released multiple phones of good quality and the public has noticed. People are willing to invest in a product that they believe will be around (at least in some form) for a long time.

      However, I have not yet met a person who was swayed into buying a Samsung device over an Apple device based on those commercials. In fact, I was seriously considering the purchase of a Samsung device (I need multiple devices for testing, because I am a web developer), but I chose to stay away, because I felt insulted by their ads and it put a bad taste in my mouth. Just my two cents.

      I am sure those ads must be doing something or they wouldn’t continue to run them, but it seems they are aimed at current users rather than new user (maybe trying to keep them on the Samsung train?). Samsung users seem to be the main one that brags about Samsung commercials.

      • Most people will NEVER admit they were swayed to buy ANYTHING because of a commercial and yet companies spend billions of dollars on advertising. We’re all affected by advertising whether we like it or not.

        Apple themselves expressed concern over the success of that ad campaign and the fact that their marketing agency hadn’t been able to come up with anything like it so that says something right there.

        As for the first comment, I’m a lowlife because I think a campaign was effective? I’m not speaking on the ethics of it, which from a business standpoint they were right, it was a good time. But ok, if you want to call me a lowlife when you know absolutely nothing about me I suppose that says something about you.

    • Dave Huntley says:

      They need another turning point right now, maybe you can move to pyongyang and help them with that.

    • mockery17 says:

      “From a business standpoint they were right, it was a good time.”
      Judging from this sentence anyone with a conscience can conclude that you have no moral values. Get the fuck out.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      Please tell me you work for their advertising company to think that it was in any capacity a “good” or even “great” set of propaganda.

  5. bboysupaman says:

    Oh Samsung… Keeping it classy as always…

  6. And for the record, I still see NOTHING in the article that specifically states Jobs’ death was the reason for kicking off the campaign.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Eh? “this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone”

      • Dave Huntley says:

        You are wasting precious pixels Ben. He thinks negative advertising is the same as regular advertising. No clue.

      • What does “this” mean? It could mean anything. I can’t get the WSJ link in the article to work so I’m not sure if it mentions Jobs’ death specifically. Some of you people are awfully angry just because I said the ad campaign was effective (which as I stated before even APPLE themselves acknowledged). I own Apple devices, I like Apple, I like Jobs. I’m far from being a Samsung lover, I can just acknowledge that they did something that furthered their cause, whether that be right or wrong. Not sure why comments like “get the fuck out” are necessary (or even allowed for that matter).

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        As I wrote, it was specifically a response to Steve Jobs’ death.

      • thejuanald says:

        Ben, I think he’s asking for the proof of that. This article does nothing to prove that. Maybe a quick edit with a quote that specifies that would help? I don’t doubt it, I just think proof would help (you saying it was a response to his death without a reference or quote isn’t proof). It’s pretty basic reporting 101, if you ask me. I’d be yelled at at my job for drawing a conclusion or presumption with out proof.

      • thejuanald says:

        As John Nguyen pointed out below, it is there. It would just be better if you had it in your article, since you made the accusation, Ben.

    • yuniverse7 says:

      Mr. Garnett, it’s truly a chore to get through to you.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      The guy explicitly states it. You didn’t even begin to read the e-mail.

      • thejuanald says:

        See, now this is helpful. I couldn’t access the pdf either from the source. A simple line in the article would have shown that what the author was suggesting is true. Simple journalism 101.

    • There’s no where in that email thread where they’re talking about Jobs’ death as an opportunity. They’re just saying they needed to aggressively market their newest device so that people could notice the advantages offered by Samsung/Android and the timing thing was because of the launching of iPhone 4S’s not Steve’s death. The Steve Job’s death comment was brought because of the fact that media were talking a lot about Jobs and Apple products because of his decease at the time and that would affect the launching of the back then Samsung newest device so they thought they needed to be “aggressive” against Apple on their promotional campaign. Nothing wrong with their approach.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        >>There’s no where in that email thread where they’re talking about Jobs’ death as an opportunity.

        You didn’t even read the e-mail thread. Stop talking.

    • Heh, learn to read between the lines. Of course the VP from Samsung will not specifically say lets jump on Apple since Jobs died but it is obvious what his meaning intended.

      • I did read the emails and what they said was that because of Steve’s death everybody were talking about him and his incredible products exactly while iPhone 4S and their Galaxy were about to launch so they needed to be more aggressive against Apple if they wanted potential customers to turn their eyes to them. As with any singer who passes away and the newest CD sells better than ever before that was about to happen to Apple and they needed to be relevant. It wasn’t a low moral move. If Apple was getting “promotion” for free because of Jobs’ death then lets focus on a more aggressive campaign.

  7. nmpomes says:

    Samsung is a sick and twisted company.

  8. You can’t expect anything better from a company that has really no values of its own and looks to beat its competitor in anyway possible. Being said, Samsung has been still unable to do it. None of its products had any unique selling point than ” Same Popular Features of iPhone, Now on Android”

    Finding the Death of Steve Jobs as a ‘Good Opportunity’ is truly sad. I am sure Samsung thought of this as a ‘Good Opportunity’ because if Steve was alive and they would have tried the ‘Next Big Thing Campaign’, Steve would have beat the pulp out of them and I mean literally :)

  9. Samsung America’s VP of U.S. sales Mike Pennington is an asshole that history will not remember!

  10. damn,That’s pretty ruthless. “Hey, Jobs is dead. Let’s turn the heat on the stuff we stole. No one over there has the gonads to stop us.”

    • herb02135go says:

      It’s ruthless of a company to seize any opportunity to gain market share? Really??
      Do you picket the gas stations when the US invades Middle Eastern countries? Do you boycott grocery stores when they blame weather for increasing the price of lettuce?

      No, the fanboys here couldn’t think objectively if their lives depended on it.

      I saw the Samsung ads that touted the features that IPhone does not. I tried the Samsung phone and gave up my iPhone. It’s been great. I like the variety of models and great features the iphone doesn’t have.

      I don’t buy a phone to impress others (as I’m sure many here do) or to feel like it’s a reflection on me. My ego doesn’t need stroking.

      I agree about the moderation here and I’m disapppointed in the participants. If swearing at a different opinion is the best argument you have then you’re both moronic and immature.
      You know who I’m referring to.

      • Tallest Skil says:


        Yep. That’s pretty much exactly what the word means, particularly in this situation. Do you know what the word ‘ruthless’ means? Should you be commenting regarding it since you don’t?

  11. tigerpork says:

    Karma will come back to bite Samsung in the butt. I just know it.

  12. John Stevens says:

    They were rightfully a little bit frightened of the tough genius of Jobs; not so much with Cook. Reminds me of Russia’s attitude towards the USA under Ronald Reagan’s leadership versus Barack Obama’s leadership. Putin and his friends openly mock the latter.

  13. thejuanald says:

    That’s pretty heartless. I don’t like that tactic at all, now that I’ve seen the entire emails. It would have been better for this article if you would have actually quoted the part mentioning that it was in direct relation to Jobs’ passing, instead of just saying it.

  14. moofer1972 says:

    See that line? Every Apple launch has one. I guess Samsung can’t copy everything.

  15. scumbolt2014 says:

    Samsung announces new logo: 💩

  16. rahhbriley says:

    I’m participating in the comments less and less…I’m sure some of you likely feel the same way. The bickering has gotten to the point I’m not being as active of a member on the site. What happened to constructive discussion and arguments, not middle school bickering using fallacies. It is costing 9to5 some visits from me, I’m still on here once or twice a day; but as opposed to 10+. Which are fewer ad impressions.

    • rahhbriley says:

      Not sure what kind of moderating is done any more, not that I’m not down for censorship and I think dissenting opinions are important. However telling people to get the fuck out and that they have no morals is just…(use your own conclusion, I’m not going to label it). But I don’t care to be around it.

  17. smigit says:

    I don’t see any issue what so ever. The fact this is news now is because no one could have ever interpreted any link between those ads and Steve Jobs. If the ads played up the fact Jobs had passed away and that was going to lead to a slide, then sure, but that wasn’t the angle they took with the advertisement.

  18. Apple People are like Progressive/Liberal/Democrats. They know for certain that they are laying over a barrel with a hand in their pockets and 15 inches up there private hole. Still they defend the hand and the 15 inches of pain. Steve Jobs would have done exactly the same thing except He would have said so, bragged about it and all the AppleFanBoys would have cheered his genius.

  19. herb02135go says:

    This trial has aired dirty laundry from both companies. The business world can be cold and this is just business as usual.

  20. drtyrell969 says:

    That’s because they realized the game was OVER.

  21. Feng Shui says:

    This whole article is misleading. Samsung didn’t say that Steve Jobs’ death was a great time to attack Apple. The emails clearly said that Steve Jobs’ death led to all this free press that perpetuated the “Apple has superior products” meme, and Samsung needed to speak up against it because Google wasn’t pulling its weight.

    Then you look to the ads themselves, which I found were hilarious and spot-on in mocking the Apple fanboy base. The ads did not make light of Steve Jobs’ passing in any way. In case someone questions my allegiances, I use an old flip phone.

  22. You should admit Reality. Despite this vantage tactic may seem dirty, it is not dirtier than all the practices both Samsung and Apple have been applying to their manufacturers, and far beyond the neo-slavery we citizens of the Northern countries have created by buying these products.

    Personally, I do not see a reason to feel offended by a private and honest mail, as I did not saw any reason when Richard Stallman said Job’s death removed one of the big threads free software had. Don confuse honesty with evilness, the state of reality with our moral judgements over it.

    Samsung and Apple play in the same league, and if you accept neoliberalism you have to deal with all it at once. This behaviour is not my cup of tea either, but not a reason to raise it as a big issue; after all, Apple adds treat their customers as emotional, childish, irrational, trendy-addict hipsters, and no one is yelling at them precisely because their audience prizes that kind of imbecile approach —while I consider it diminishes them as human beings, because it uses evolution triggers to bypass rational evaluations in the benefit of impulsiveness consumption. (From the creators of the 72 hours a week, the Jail we had to Break in a product we paid for, and so on.)

    Is this the ‘verse’ you were expecting?

  23. Mac Harris says:

    Great seeing all the apple fan boys turn out in strength with mock outrage and pious hauter… Funny that they forgot the Justin Long apple commercials mocking Microsoft that they thought were oh so cute when they came out…. Thanks for the laughs boys.