“My nails are wet!” Samsung Galaxy’s Marketing: Sexist or No Big Deal?

Samsung Debuts Its New Flagship Smartphone, The Galaxy S IV

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 overtook the news last week. I followed it, noting the advancements in it's technology, the criticisms of it's design… and the overall disappointment in what I believe to be “smartphone ennui” Apple knows this, as everyone was let down that the iPhone 5 couldn't do your laundry or your taxes, or whatever the next new thing in tech is that will rock our world.

What I missed until I had the time to really sit and read the news was more than a few journalists noted some of the theatrics at last week's unveiling at Radio City Music Hall. Upon showing the features of the new phone, “air gestures” (no more smudge marks on your phone!) they asked a panel of actresses portraying ditsy bridesmaids on stage as to why they needed the features, “My nails are wet!” “Sticky fingers.” “Sunscreen.” and “I really don't want to put down this drink.”

Granted, in my own life, wet nails have been a concern when it comes to using my smartphone… nonetheless, I cringed watching this video. They also noted how the phone could be like the doctor your mom always wanted you to marry, and that the only reason why you'd want the fitness features was to burn calories. You know because us women, are always concerned about our weight.

The tech world has been at a loss as to how to approach the whole “appeal to women” issue for as long as I can remember. Even though women are  increasingly the purchasers of technology, not much has changed when it comes to understanding what “women” look for in tech. However, I would like to go out on a limb and say… maybe the tech companies can do good for women by not portraying us as stereotypically shallow, shrill and somewhat ditsy?  Maybe just as people who have concerns like “How long does the battery last?” and “Does the GPS actually work?”

But highlighting the benefits in terms of saving wet nails, is that the right way to go?

As bloggers, we rely on technology to do our jobs. In our particular niche, women are the majority, but does that mean when it comes to technology, should we be more sensitive about how the tech world portrays women?

With Samsung, this wasn't the first time they've promoted questionably sexist marketing. The Atlantic Wire wrote an excellent piece about Samsung's history of it's portrayal of women:

In a 2010 commercial, a guy shuts his girlfriend up by giving her his phone to play with:

And last year, the GalaxyII phablet's commercial depicted this woman more concerned about puppies than doing her job:

I don't know if these are exactly “sexist” they're certainly annoying ads.

As a blogger and as a woman, do these messages above affect your opinion and  choices when it comes to purchasing? Or is this really, no big deal?

[Image Credit: cbc.ca]


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8 Responses

  1. Kelsey Elisabeth Benedict

    I wouldn’t buy a Samsung or iPhone.
    For me, it’s too exspensive for a phone that I’m just going to break in the end.

    I’m very rough on phones, and paying that much for a phone is ridiculous to me. I don’t need all the extra features – I have most of them in my generic phone from Wal-mart’s Straight Talk plan.

  2. Eva Tornado

    For my blog’s job I use a tablet (Asus, btw). Phone…. Is too small for this. So I use the phone just for calls =)

  3. Bike Pretty

    Those are awful.
    Definitely sexist. And seriously outdated.
    As you point out, women buy technology. There’s a lot of market research to back this up.
    But those ads aren’t targeted at women. They are playing upon the casual sexism of young male techies.

    • Jennine Jacob

      Yeah… I totally see that. It’s so gross. However, I don’t think many people are upset about it, which is probably more frightening.

  4. Seepz

    I did see a review of the Samsung S4 and loved the idea of a phone that can recognize temperature and gestures. The launch however seems to be both politically incorrect and unnecessary. Like you said, Oh yes, I do worry about my wet nails and it is a good thing Samsung understands that women comprise a growing segment. The treatment of it, however, is just not right.

  5. Long Island Marketing

    I think more people were offended by the S4 presentation then most of their commercials. Our opinion was the presentation was a huge mess but it won’t effect sales in any significant way. They went out of their way to target women and might have to rethink there brand messaging slightly.

  6. debi c

    i think we should be rightly annoyed by these type of ads. living in india their is no shortage of sexist ads even though they are subtle forms of sexism, the so called socially acceptable forms you know once where the women are only mothers/daughters/wives looking out for everyone in the family. i had an issue with a certain e-commerce site’s launching ad where they portrayed women as shrill, out of control shoppers and the boyfriend/husband is telling the audience to not let them know of this site. i posted about it somewhere on the net (i don’t recall exactly where). so did several others i guess because soon they came out with a role reversal, but still the choices of items the guys went crazy over were typical “male” items of desire, athletic gear and such.
    i have bought from them, they have partnered with my blog and i have utilised my voice to negate that stereotypical female shopper image. i hesitate from buying from sites who portray women this way but ultimately i will buy the right product for me be it a piece of jewelery or gadget. so i say we should absolutely point out these annoying trends so maybe someone out there would use their brains in the ad world to come up with clever ideas to sell their products and won’t have to rely on annoying forms of sexism to do so.
    Check this ad out by Bournvita
    “In a world where boys are taught to be like their dads and try to surpass them, Bournvita’s new ad shows a mom as a boy’s role model instead of the usual cheerleader in the stands. :)”

  7. Elizabeth

    Actually i don’ see the big deal. You see, men are smarter, of course not every single man is intelligent just like not all women are dumb…. Actually the reactions show if you’re the intelligent, independent woman or the typical stereotype. No offense, by the way. 😉