Samsung’s massive ad spend

This year Samsung spent a lot on advertising.

US$14 billion.

To give you some perspective, Coca-Cola spent about US$2.5 billion in 2012, across all of its brands, globally.

Want some more perspective? US$14 billion is more than Iceland’s GDP and more than Google paid for Motorola, according to an article from Reuters, which goes on to suggest that Samsung is spending a lot, but not necessarily seeing a return. It quotes Oh Jung-suk, a business school professor at Seoul National University.

“Samsung’s marketing is too much focused on projecting an image they aspire to: being innovative and ahead of the pack. They are failing to efficiently bridge the gap between the aspiration and how consumers actually respond to the campaign. It’s got to be more aligned.”

Apple spends a fraction of Samsung’s budget (about US$1 billion). Horace Dediu, an Asymco analyst says the lower spend is down to product strength:

“The stronger, more differentiated the product, the less it needs to be propped up by advertising.”

We’ve heard that before, haven’t we? Designer Yves Behar said “Advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal.”

To borrow from football, you could say Samsung is trying to do a Man City rather than a Manchester United – short-circuiting its rise to tech brand royalty with brute force spend. Following that logic, it won’t be concerned with the odd frosty reception for product placement or sponsorship.

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