Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Samsung caught presenting actors as Galaxy Tab "consumers," fudging thinnest tablet claims

After being forced to admit that its two million Galaxy Tabs last fall were just inventory and not actually sales to consumers, Samsung is now being accused of paying actors to pretend to be Galaxy Tab buyers and faking its claim that its redesigned tablet will be thinner than iPad 2 as originally claimed.

An exposé by Harry McCracken of Technologizer pointed out that the company's "Galaxy Tab Interview Project" purported to depict real consumers from "a variety of backgrounds," but was actually a staged presentation hiring paid actors to feign interest in its tablet products.

At the introduction of the company's revised Galaxy Tab, the company presented two stories of what appeared to be very satisfied Galaxy Tab owners, albeit voicing clumsy and phony sounding comments.

Joan Hess, described as a freelance travel writer, said "I would mostly use it communicating with people all around the globe when I'm on the move," before giggling "it's sexy, like me!"

A second spot with independent film director Karl Shefelman presented the filmmaker using the yet unreleased Galaxy Tab 10.1, a product originally announced in February and then sent back to the drawing board for a June release after Apple debuted iPad 2.

"Thinnest tablet on the market" not actually thinnest, nor on the market

After taking a moment between what were described as "true life stories," Samsung's chief product and technology officer Omar Khan introduced a revised Galaxy Tab 10.1, which he called the thinnest and lightest tablet "in the market," a clear shot at Apple's iPad 2.

However, despite describing the new Galaxy Tab design, slated to become available in June, as being 0.2 millimeters thinner than Apple's currently shipping iPad 2, reviewers at InformationWeek comparing the new Galaxy Tab prototype against iPad 2 have since published photos that show that the iPad 2 is actually thinner than the nonfunctional cases Samsung demonstrated.

After asking Samsung for comment, the report stated, "there was really no official Samsung response other than to say that the specifications are 8.6 mm. He was at a loss for words."

Acting! Genius! Thank You!

A third interview introduced Joseph Kolinski as a real estate CEO, referring to him as a "consumer" who had "picked the Galaxy Tab 8.9," a second version of the company's revised tablet lineup which also won't be available until June.

Kolinski said "I'm not very tech savvy," then recited a story about how he was skeptical of "toys," until the Galaxy Tab 8.9 helped him to stay on top of his busy schedule, noting how he was "surprised how productive he was able to be with it."

Given that the device does not actually turn on yet, real gains in productivity would be rather surprising. McCracken investigated the real life stories and found that Hess and Kolinski are actually New York actors, while Shefelman, "works for a New York production company, one that’s done work for Samsung."

This all happened before

Samsung's "real life story" charade is reminiscent of two Microsoft ad campaigns, one featuring Laura, who said she picked a Windows PC because she "wasn't cool enough for a Mac." It was later revealed she was actually an actress.

A second Microsoft ad, published in response to Apple's "Switcher" campaign, was entitled "Confessions of a Mac to PC convert," and featured a woman describing why she had decided to move from a Mac to a Windows PC.

The print ad portrayed her as saying "Yes, it's true. I like the Microsoft Windows XP operating system enough to change my whole computing world around. [...] Windows XP gives me more choices and flexibility and better compatibility with the rest of the computing world."

It was later revealed that an advertising copywriter for Microsoft simply made up the woman's comments and that the woman herself was actually just a stock photography model.