The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We’ve been hearing about it all week, seeing celebrities get doused in the name of raising money for ALS research (or Lou Gehrig’s disease), all the while challenging other famous celebs they know to do the same in order to raise awareness for ALS. The tradition was started by a Facebook user, and, while raising awareness and money is an excellent idea, it’s likely never been considered that ice cold buckets could indeed get someone sick.
Wouldn’t it be just as good if someone did a two-minute video talking about ALS, all the while encouraging others to donate to the cause? There are ways to raise awareness for research against society’s greatest diseases that doesn’t involve someone getting sick, spraining their ankle, or injuring himself or herself to bring awareness to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
And yet, at the same time, Samsung decided to donate to ALS this week. Microsoft celebrity Bill Gates has had one of the most interesting ice bucket contraptions built for the Ice Bucket Challenge that we’ve seen so far, which adds a little interesting spin to raising money for ALS, but we’ve not yet seen a smartphone get doused for the challenge.
Which is where the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes in.
Samsung’s latest YouTube commercial, titled Samsung Galaxy S5 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, places the Galaxy S5 within the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We’ve been seeing people put under ice buckets all week, but Samsung decided to shake things up a bit by placing the Galaxy S5 under the ice bucket in its latest commercial. The company has the ice water doused on the Galaxy S5, with S-Voice (or so we presume) then saying the words, “I nominate the iPhone 5s, the HTC One M8, and the Nokia Lumia 9-3-0.” Yes, S-Voice doesn’t call the Lumia a “930,” but a “9-3-0.”
Some would look at Samsung’s latest Ice Bucket Challenge ad and take offense at the company for issuing this kind of ad at a time when so many tech leaders are getting doused in cold water in order to raise money for ALS. At the same time, however, we’re not sure that having a Samsung representative douse his or her head in ice cold water is any safer than dousing one’s smartphone. People can get sick when doused with ice buckets (it’s similar to taking an ice cold shower), but the worst that can happen to a smartphone is that it ceases to operate.
Next, Samsung did what a successful marketing company does: it uses an occasion to raise awareness about its own products. Samsung’s own advertisement is no worse than the unwanted attention Bill Gates gave to his YouTube video when he constructed an ice bucket mechanism. Why did Bill Gates need to construct anything in his ad? Why couldn’t he do what others such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did and just pour the ice bucket water over his head? Why did Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella need to have a hackathon team behind him to pour the ice bucket over his head? Could he not do it himself? And why did Mark Zuckerberg need to call out his “Facebook partner” in the challenge (why did he have to note that she was his Facebook partner in the first place)?
And, last but not least, why is it the case that all the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos are being posted on YouTube for people to laugh at and pass on to others? We suspect that, despite the honest intentions of all celebrities, the celebrities themselves are actually marketing for their own work while promoting ALS. Why did any of these well-known individuals need to announce the company they work for when the whole point of it is to give attention to ALS and not the tech companies, or music group, or business they own – or what kind of celebrity they are?
In the end, Samsung has done nothing different. What is different about the ad, however, is the angle to which Samsung switches.
Samsung ALS Ice Bucket Challenge attacks Android smartphones and iPhone 5S
So, where does the Galaxy S5 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge take a turn? When the Galaxy S5 challenges the iPhone 5S, HTC One M8, and the Lumia 930.
The company challenge is simple: these three smartphones should get doused with water to take on the challenge. At the same time, however, Samsung’s marketing prowess uses the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to show that none of the three phones recommended can get doused with ice water and still work much afterward.
While some may think that Samsung did this at the wrong time, what time would work for the company? A week or a month after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Since Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is water-resistant, the company would’ve submerged its GS5 in water at some point on a commercial – to show its capability. What’s the big deal?
Some have said that Samsung did it to “mock the iPhone 5s,” one tech writer noted, but Samsung’s Ice Bucket Challenge also mocks the HTC One M8 as well as the Lumia 930, in addition to the iPhone 5s. So, with that said, the iconic iPhone 5s wasn’t the only target of the ad. And, although some don’t like it, the Galaxy S5 Ice Bucket Challenge shows the problem with the other phones: although they may have a better camera and/or a metal unibody, none of them will survive if you submerge them in water.
Samsung not only provided an Ice Bucket Challenge for the Galaxy S5; the company also donated to the cause. Some believe that the company didn’t select the right time to advertise and should not have done so in a commercial that should’ve focused on ALS – but how many celebrity videos yet have been done without being uploaded to YouTube? Something tells us that all the celebrity videos done in the name of ALS aren’t so honest, either. We suspect that some iPhone users who’ve written to attack this commercial “doth protest too much.”