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?

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: samsung

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Samsung Hires 'Actors' To Pretend To Be Happy Galaxy Tab Testers?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
43 Comments
xenomancer (profile) says:

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
>_<
^_^
😀

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

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)

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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?

ROGERDODGER (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

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.

misterdoug (profile) says:

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.

Lizmcgpr (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Hamranhansenhansen says:

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.

misterdoug (profile) says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...