The Spot: Freeing the Fanboys

Samsung wraps its campaign poking fun at the cult of Apple with a circus-like Super Bowl spot by Bobby Farrelly

Headshot of Tim Nudd

GENESIS: With Apple's position in the smartphone market strong and getting stronger, Samsung has been trying to siphon off share by humorously portraying its rival's fans as slaves to an unseeing sheep mentality. A launch spot in November got huge play by showing Apple devotees waiting listlessly in line for the latest iProduct, only to be impressed—and unnerved—by a bystander's Samsung Galaxy S II. "I could never get a Samsung. I'm creative," one of the slackers says stoically. "There's just a cultural truth around Apple fans," said Bryan Rowles, creative director at Samsung agency 72andSunny. More ads continued the theme. Then, agency and client decided to wrap the series with a circus-like spot on the Super Bowl. Directed by Bobby Farrelly, it begins, like the others, with Apple fans in line. Then, seeing the new Galaxy Note, they break out of the barriers, liberated at last, and celebrate at a massive block party, singing and dancing to The Darkness's 2003 cheese-rock anthem "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." "There's a shelf life to the joke," said Rowles. "We wanted to go out with a bang."

COPYWRITING: The core of the campaign has been the lethargic, comical clichés uttered by the Apple hipsters. "It took a while to get the tone of voice right," Rowles said. "We had to find that dry sense of humor, being smart at the same time as being kind of dumb. I think in the end what happened was, Apple fans were like, 'Yeah, we're kinda like that.' And people who aren't Apple fans were like, 'Yeah, Apple fans are like that.' " Scripting the Super Bowl spot was all about going over the top—singer Justin Hawkins from The Darkness, in a pink-and-white striped bodysuit, kicks off the party, which includes a marching band, choir, motocross riders, and a guy getting shot out of a cannon.

ART DIRECTION: All the spots have had a flat, washed-out look to visually embody the boredom of waiting in line. "The color grade was purposefully desaturated, a little bit milky," said Rowles. More color and warmth was pumped into the second half of the Super Bowl commercial to boost the party atmosphere.

FILMING: This was the first TV spot for Farrelly, who, with his brother Peter, has directed movies like There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin. "Bobby brought fun," said Rowles. "He knows how to go from zero to 60. There's not many people who can go big better than him. He made it a party."

TALENT: The Apple fans, many of whom had recurring roles, were cast partly for their hipster appearance, but mostly for their acting. The agency was pleased to get Hawkins to join in—a fun little Easter egg for the band's fans. Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher also has a cameo, signing an autograph on the Note using its stylus, the one product feature that's singled out.

SOUND: "There was always this idea of making it a musical," said Rowles. The Darkness song "really fit the strategy well, which is falling out of love with being in line and falling in love with something new."

MEDIA: It was one of only two :90s in the Super Bowl (Kia had the other; Chrysler aired a :120). "For us, that's like making Dances With Wolves. That's like a three-hour movie," said Rowles. "Having those precious extra seconds let the front end bleed out a little bit and let the boredom come through. Then we get into the party." The spot has been airing post-Super Bowl in :60 and :30 cutdowns, but there will be no new executions. "Our fanboys are free," said Rowles. "They can't get back in line."



Client: Samsung

Spot: "Thing Called Love"

Agency: 72andSunny, Los Angeles

ECD/CEO: Jon Boiler

Creative Director: Bryan Rowles

Creative Director: Tim Wolfe

Agency Producer: Danielle Tarris

Production Company: Rabbit Content

Director: Bobby Farrelly

DP: Matt Leonetti

Executive Producer: Douglas Howell

Executive Producer: Joby Barnhart

Producer: Gary Romano

Editorial: Cut + Run

Editor: Steve Gandolfi

Editor: Frank Effron

Assistant Editor: Sean Stender

Editorial Head of Production: Christie Price

Editorial Executive Producer: Michelle Burke

Postproduction: Company 3

Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld

Post EP: Rhubie Jovanov

VFX: The Mission

VFX Creative Director: Rob Trent

VFX Executive Producer: Michael Pardee

CG Supervisor: Piotr Karwas

Onset VFX Supervisor/Compositor: Brad Scott

Lead Compositor: Joey Brattesani

Compositor: Katrina Salicrup

Compositor: Christopher Moore

Graphic Designer: Aaron Benoit

Animator: Samir Lyons

Roto: Chris Cortese

VFX Producer: Diana Cheng

VFX Producer: Ryan Meredith

Audio Post: Mix Studio

Mixer: John Bolen

Assistant: Ryan Sturup

EP: Lauren Cascio

Music: South Music

Composer: Chris James

Arranger: Jon Darling

Sound Design: Barking Owl

Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi

EP: Kelly Bayett

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: February 14, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT