Gold Digger

Call it strategic. Call it obnoxious. Whatever you want to call it, Samsung announced a gold version of its Galaxy S4 this week, probably because Apple’s new gold-tinted iPhone 5s is the hottest new phone on the market and yet it’s nowhere to be found.

Whether or not you believe Samsung “steals” ideas from Apple, and/or always has, Samsung has not handled this announcement well. Samsung could have said it planned to release a gold Galaxy S4 months before the first leaked photos of the gold iPhone 5s. But instead, Samsung reacted to its own news with an awkward and defensive blog post that, once again, alienates consumers by disrespecting their collective intelligence.

The PR team starts off with a groaner: “By now you probably know that aliens work with Samsung, well so do some gods – Midas, to name one.” Not only is this sentence a strange way to start any conversation whatsoever, I’m pretty sure Midas was a king.

But wait, there’s more:

“About a month ago on August 27th, Samsung launched the GALAXY S4 Gold edition in the United Arab Emirates (These were available in stores starting September 8th). It’s since also been released in Kuwait and Qatar.”

The blog post concludes with eight examples of previously released gold Samsung phones, which the company says is “not a complete list” and again feels like another distortion, especially since seven out of the eight examples are feature phones, not smartphones, and at least three of those models are bronze or copper, not gold.

But now I’m getting into the semantics of what qualifies as “gold,” which isn’t the point here. Here’s the point: The move itself may have seemed opportunistic and pathetic, but this blog post is much worse. It shows a true lack of respect for its readers by completely neglecting the reality of the situation: People know the gold iPhone exists, and people know Samsung has been accused of copying in the past.

Samsung claims it spends a great deal of time listening to fans, which means it clearly scans the news every single day. News of an Apple smartwatch surfaces earlier this year, and two months later, Samsung announces it’s working on its own smartwatch (which turns out to be a smart “companion” — not a smartwatch, and definitely not the iWatch killer many were hoping for). And now, as Apple is again in the news for its unattainable but highly desirable gold iPhone 5s, Samsung goes ahead and does this.

Samsung is a massively powerful company with a rare opportunity to shape and lead today’s malleable tech scene, but its marketing and PR is nothing short of tasteless and cringeworthy. If you don’t believe me, check out this semi-racist ad, or this thoroughly unwatchable Galaxy S4 unveiling:

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