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Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 08:42 am PT (11:42 am ET)

Samsung points to anti-Apple ads as 'tipping point' for company

According to one executive for the firm, Samsung's line of ads mocking Apple's iPhone and its devotees marked a tipping point for the firm, one that sparked a conversation that has propelled Samsung's brand on to become one of the most valuable in the world.



Samsung and Apple together account for more than 100 percent of the profits in the smartphone industry when considering the losses of other manufacturers. The South Korean manufacturer is the top handset maker in the world in terms of overall units sold, though it significantly lags Apple in terms of profit from those devices.

All the same, when Samsung began mocking the industry-leading iPhone, "that really did mark quite a tipping point for us globally," according to the company's chief marketing officer Arno Lenoir. Speaking with Ad News, Lenoir said that the campaign has sparked conversation and pushed Samsung's brand forward.

"We were able to tell a cheeky story," Lenoir said, "if you think about it, we're a Korean company starting to really mess with the order of things."

Indeed, Samsung has seen its value share growing steadily as it has focused more on mocking Apple's products. In 2012, Samsung took 34 percent of smartphone profits, and the firm took 43 percent in the first quarter of 2013, then 50 percent in the second quarter.

Samsung's latest iPhone competitor, the Galaxy S4, revealed to positive but largely unimpressed reviews. The device still sold very well, moving 20 million units just months after its release. That made it Samsung's best-selling phone ever, though it was still behind the pace of Apple's iPhone.

Still, Lenoir sees the South Korean tech giant as a "challenger" in the industry.

"I don't think the public sees us as a market leader just yet," Lenoir said, "and I quite like that. I like being thought of as a challenger brand – I think even though we will be in most segments a market leader, we will always be acting like a challenger. And that comes back to that perpetual state-of-crisis mindset.”

That "state-of-crisis mindset" Lenoir spoke of is a reference to the company's continual investment in research and development, with the company's attitude being that it could go on the downslope at any time.

"We look at things like the S&P 500 companies in 1997," Lenoir said. "87 percent of those companies are no longer in existence, whether they've been bought or merged or just failed."