Samsung Hires 'Actors' To Pretend To Be Happy Galaxy Tab Testers?

from the calling-the-ftc... dept

I'm still waiting for Android tablet computers to catch up to the iPad in terms of usefulness, and I'm guessing there's probably still another year or so to go (if the phone market is any predictor). Samsung, of course, has been leading the push for Android-based tablets and they made some news with the launch of its latest version of the Galaxy tab at CTIA. Indeed, the new devices do look pretty neat. But why spoil genuine appreciation of the device when you can hire actors to pretend to like the device... and then claim to the world that they're not actors at all? That appears to be exactly what Samsung did. Much of the launch focused on these interviews with three "regular folks" from "different backgrounds" who were given a chance to test out these new tablets and then be interviewed about them. You can see the full launch video here, and the "interviews" start around the 8 min mark.
Intrepid blogger Harry McCracken thought the interviews felt a bit off... and a bit too full of corporate marketing-speak. So he decided to go searching for "freelance travel writer Joan Hess, independent filmmaker Karl Shefelman, and leading real estate CEO Joseph Kolinksi." And he ran into some difficulties:
I was curious to learn more about them. So I Googled around and couldn’t find any references to a travel-writing Joan Hess (one with, as she said, a following on Twitter) or a real-estate CEO Joseph Kolinski.

I did notice, however, that freelance travel writer Joan Hess bears a striking resemblance to New York actress Joan Hess:

And that real estate CEO Joseph Kolinski could be New York actor Joseph Kolinksi's twin brother:

Filmmaker Karl Shefelman, on the other hand, looks a lot like... filmmaker Karl Shefelman. Who works for a New York production company. One that's done work for Samsung.

Of course, some people will claim that this is standard operating procedure and that everyone should assume that anyone in such a video is clearly an actor, rather than a real person speaking off the cuff. But this is a press launch event and the clear implication by Samsung officials is that these were real people and real interviews. If the product really is as great as they say, why not actually trust real people to say that, rather than hiring actors?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    xenomancer (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Heretical Sincerety?

    Maybe they found three actors who were embarrassed about genuinely appreciating a piece of open technology in their apple dominated mac-ocracy....

    ಠ_ಠ
    ಲ_ಲ
    ಥ_ಥ
    >_<
    ^_^
    :-D

    HAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

    Sorry, couldn't keep a straight face for very long on that one.

    (yes, all the other little boys and girls *almost* pointed out 'mac~cock-racy' as well... chickens just aren't that funny without a road involved)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    I will avoid Samsung

    I am avoiding Samsung Android devices, but not because of their sleazy testimonals. I got the Galaxy S phone for my wife and they screwed that thing up so bad I would think Apple paid them to do it to turn people against Android. Fortunately my Motorola Droid X shows what Droid does.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    A post by Masnick that's not a spirited defense of some digital pirate, - to the contrary, it actually claims that locked-down DRM-riddled iOS is superior to the open-source Android. Wow.

     

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  4.  
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    trilobug, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    The Patty Duke Show

    Wow, I can see why Sammy thought they could get away with this. Those actors are laughably bad - they will never get any work where they will actually be noticed by the public.

    Karl Shefelman also looks a lot like Jay Leno's brother.

     

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  5.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    Re:

    to the contrary, it actually claims that locked-down DRM-riddled iOS is superior to the open-source Android
    This really shows that you have no clue how to do any kind of reading comprehension. Mike said Samsung made a stupid decision in regards to a press release. How you go from that to support for iOS could only be done by a dice roll. You sir, just rolled a natural 1.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Here's a tip Mike - Apple use actors in their marketing as well. And John Doe - the Galaxy S is the premier Android phone on the market. Has by far the best screen of all Android phones, and the best CPU/memory. Sure the base software is crap, but you can easily replace that.

     

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  7.  
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    robin, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    old school

    .....why not actually trust real people to say that, rather than hiring actors?


    you know the answer to that one mike: the difference between broadcasting and communicating.

    the big dumb corporations know the former, and it's lack of public scrutiny, and are scared shitless of the latter

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re:

    Here's a tip AC - read the last paragraph of the article again.

    Of course, some people will claim that this is standard operating procedure and that everyone should assume that anyone in such a video is clearly an actor, rather than a real person speaking off the cuff. But this is a press launch event and the clear implication by Samsung officials is that these were real people and real interviews. If the product really is as great as they say, why not actually trust real people to say that, rather than hiring actors?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

    Hmm...No Need To Lie

    This was just the usual video backdrop to a CTIA presentation. I was there, and the industry audience is very used to the fact that it's mostly actors in these kinds of "testimonials".

    Most people out there should be able to see through this obvious ruse. (Mike said someone would say this "is just standard operating procedure", I guess that's me.) Product marketers want to 'educate' the market about the value proposition their widgets have for typical market segments, so paint some likely scenarios.

    And in an era of Reality TV, the overlap between truth and quasi-truth has crossed the line into pure BS. Do you really think it's a doctor on a TV ad when a guy/gal has a stethoscope around the neck? A scientist because they say so and wear a lab coat? It's all marketing.

    However, I'm 100% with Mike that this was dishonest. It's just not true, and I'm not sure what Samsung even gained by lying. I mean, why bother trying to present it as real customers? The message of "usage scenarios" would be can be effectively communicated by actors. Just own up to it.

    On another note, the Samsung Tabs looked really good, and the price points were much more attractive than the over-priced Motorola Xoom. At the CTIA show, Samsung let people play around with prototypes of their Tablets, but said that the shipping versions (later this summer) would be much thinner, even coming in thinner than iPad 2. Android tablets will start pouring onto the market this summer from HTC, Huawei, Samsung, and other hardware vendors. Expect the Android tablet momentum to start in earnest around then.

     

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  10.  
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    ROGERDODGER, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Apple don't use actors in speaking role. And btw this is not about actors. This is about Samsung lied. These are not ceo or novelist. They're actors.

    Apple is not lei. Samsung yes. Shame on Samsung. And btw its not true galaxy tard is thinner. There Are images circulating on information week site.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Hmm...No Need To Lie

    I am avoiding Samsung Android devices, but not because of their sleazy testimonals. I got the Galaxy S phone for my wife and they screwed that thing up so bad I would think Apple paid them to do it to turn people against Android. Fortunately my Motorola Droid X shows what Droid does.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Karl, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 7:36pm

    Samsung said they were real

    Here is what the Samsung guy at 11:33

    "true life stories of Galaxy Tab users"

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 7:37pm

    Re: The Patty Duke Show

    I swear I've seen those two on some flavor of Law & Order.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 10:02pm

    I think this is a cultural thing, they do that in Asia all the time and nobody seems to care, a few months ago I read a story about how Chinese business were hiring American actors to pass as international investors to interact with local authorities.

     

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  15.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 1:17am

    Intrepid blogger Harry McCracken thought the interviews felt a bit off... and a bit too full of corporate marketing-speak.

    I know the feeling... kind of like listening to one down-home average American after another on Fox News saying the same things over and over. Just plain-talkin' grassroots folks speakin' their minds, right off the ol' teleprompter.

     

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  16.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 2:18am

    Re: Heretical Sincerety?

    Mac-cock-cracy? IS that some kind of crazy scotch cockerel running America again?

    *sigh* Someone fetch CLT and an AC, we need bait.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Lichi, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 2:44am

    Seriously, are you for real? Did you honestly think that they were all random people in commercials? Apple, Samsung and whatever? This ain't news. Get real.

     

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  18.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:05am

    Re:

    Dumb troll ist dumb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:06am

    Re:

    Here's a tip: their actors do not suck, contrary to those of Samsung.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:08am

    Re:

    Seriously, can't you read?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Lizmcgpr, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:09am

    Response to: Lichi on Mar 26th, 2011 @ 2:44am

    Of course it is fair to believevthey are real consumers if presented as such. As these guys were.

    And yes brands do use "real" people - Dove real women campaign springs to mind...

    This was a fail as it was said to be something it wasn't that's the error not the use or misuse of actors.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re:

    How you go from that to support for iOS could only be done by a dice roll.

    How about that:

    I'm still waiting for Android tablet computers to catch up to the iPad in terms of usefulness,

    That's reading comprehension for you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    "Everyone else is doing it"

    That's a really good excuse - if you are 5 years old

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    That's funny - advertisers are no better than talk radio in that both hire actors to impersonate real customers / callers.

     

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  25.  
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    Joe (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    Or if you're 15 and trying to talk your girlfriend into sex. Or maybe things have changed in the past 25 years. ;)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    John Walterse, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    obviously actors

    so I go to the 8 minute mark. 12 seconds later, I realize that it is obvious that these people are actors. Much ado about nothing.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Hamranhansenhansen, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Real names imply real people, not actors

    The problem here is Samsung used these people's real names, not character names, and yet identified them as having occupations other than actors.

    Obviously, they could not use the Android enthusiasts you see here in these comments, because they don't want to show off some anti-social loser who breathes through his mouth.

    As to open/closed … the Samsung tablets in question run only one piece of open source software: Apple WebKit. The Honeycomb code is not open, and even to the extent that it may be, it will be used by Google's hardware partners. Apple WebKit, by comparison, is truly open and is used not just by Apple's partners, but by Apple's competitors, including Google (Android, Chrome), Adobe (AIR, Creative Suite), HP (mobile products), Nokia, RIM, Roku, and many others.

    But all that is irrelevant. We are talking about consumer products here. What is important is enabling the consumer, not other tech companies. Samsung had to use actors to play consumers who were enabled by Galaxy Tab because no actual consumers have been enabled by Galaxy Tab. On the other hand, Apple still has line-ups for iPad 2 because they enable consumers. Some nerds are focused on iPad doing "less than a PC," but to consumers, iPad does *more* than a PC. Consumers use a PC almost exclusively for Web, email, movies. iPad does that plus book reading and hundreds of thousands of native apps, which consumers don't know how to install on a PC. They are liberated by the broader world they see on iPad, not walled into something smaller. They run a more diverse heritage of software from a more diverse set of developers, not less, not just from Apple.

    So enough with the nerd dogma and diatribes. There is a market out there of consumers who have real tasks to accomplish. Either serve that market or STFU.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Samsung said they were real

    OMG! Narketing videos are not real!

    Nest thing you'll be telling me that Santa does not exist

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Kyle, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 9:46pm

    This is an epic fail. Wonder if they're doing this on asian counterparts.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re:

    True, one has to be pretty dumb to consider Masnick an unbiased commentator

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Iria, Mar 27th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    It's not a big deal. It's done all the time. Remember the Laptop Hunters stuff that Microsoft did. The very first one featured a redhead later outed as an actress. http://bit.ly/g9SY8g

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    Really...

    First off the I-Pad along with all Apple products blows balls, and has many actors in all their commercials. Do you think any of those people in commercials are not getting paid? I mean come on.

     

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  33.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 27th, 2011 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So to you, a comparison of the iPad and all the apps available for it vs the apps on Android tablets only (not the phones), is actually a comparison of iOS and Android itself? Very interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Mar 27th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    Fraud is fraud

    Some ads present actors portraying what might happen when you use a product. That's just an illustration. Others present real people giving testimonials about what really did happen when they personally did use the product. That's a claim of fact. There's a distinct difference between the two. Falsely claiming that an actor is a real estate CEO or a freelance writer is outright fraud. Samsung should be prosecuted and fined for this.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Mar 28th, 2011 @ 4:57am

    Truth in advertising?
    Dont hold your breath.

    Common side effects include; disbelief, pessimism, hate and outrage. YMMV

     

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  36.  
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    AMusingFool (profile), Mar 28th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Actors are real people, too

    Sorry, just felt like pointing that out. Carry on.

     

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  37.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Mar 28th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Actors are real people, too

    LOL - I've been an actor myself. Some are amazingly unreal.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 11:25pm

    By the way,
    those people have the jobs they mentioned
    because they are part-time actors.
    If you want to write a story,
    please make sure you do the fact checking!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    misterdoug (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 12:29am

    Re: part time actors?

    Source please?
    If this is true it sheds a new light on the thing. But if you want to be taken seriously with your anonymous post at least cite your source.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Followup

    After a diligent search I can state with complete certainty that there is no evidence online to corroborate Anonymous Douchebag's claim that these people really have the jobs they mentioned.

    Are there any forums like this that don't allow anonymous comments?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Shine (profile), Oct 14th, 2011 @ 1:28am

    Ads

    That's advertising! Of course they will hire actors!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Nicole, Jan 16th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    That's the problem with advertisement, you'll never know now if they are telling the truth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 2:31am

    At this time and age, people should be wiser and more discerning at the way they look at advertisement and know that what they see in the Ads shouldn't be their only gauge in buying the product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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