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Samsung's Happy Galaxy Tab Users Are Actors 190

Posted by timothy
from the why-discriminate-against-actors? dept.
harrymcc writes "At the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando this week, Samsung unveiled new Galaxy Tab tablets and showed videos of interviews with 'true-life' users who raved about the Tab, including a travel writer, a filmmaker, and a real-estate CEO. One problem: the writer and the CEO are actually New York stage actors."
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Samsung's Happy Galaxy Tab Users Are Actors

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  • News flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:25AM (#35620702)

    Marketing = lies. Is anyone really surprised?

    • Re:News flash! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JAlexoi (1085785) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:05AM (#35620812) Homepage
      "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances..."
      Isn't that beautiful?
      "Beauty is truth, truth beauty and hoped thereby to prove that the guilty party in this case was Life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true."

      So... Samsung is in the clear...
    • Re:News flash! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MrHanky (141717) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:44AM (#35620900) Homepage Journal

      The most interesting part of this "story" is of course the fact that it's much more an advertisement for Samsung's competition as a story in itself. "We: more honest than our competitors." It certainly isn't news.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      I'm a happy Galaxy Tab user, I just don't feel the need to prance around and sing about it.

    • To find that lying in order to sell a product is going on in here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Carewolf (581105)

      Well, users in advertisement are called personas, they may or may not be based on real users, sometimes they just examples of users the product has been designed for, but even if they are real, they are played by actors because real users make lousy actors.

    • Well first, Marketing =/= Lies. You might be thinking of advertising, which is different from marketing [wikipedia.org]. Maybe I'm being pedantic, but it's an important distinction that people miss very often. "Marketing is used to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer." Marketing is the whole process that includes figuring out that there is a market for a product, producing the product to meet the market, developing a pricing strategy, and even deciding how the product will be shelved in s

      • Re:News flash! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by macs4all (973270) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:12AM (#35621812)
        "Do you have any doubt that if Apple showed a similar set of videos, they would be videos of real people who actually loved their iPads?"

        No doubt at all. Remember the original "Switcher" campaign? One of the reasons it was discontinued was that the real-life people in the ads started getting harassed/idolized in real-life. They were not actors.

        Contrast that with the one-and-only Windows "switcher", who's picture came straight from Getty Images...
        • by MrCrassic (994046)
          That's perfectly understandable for advertisements that will be used for public consumption. However, to use that same trick for conference material is a bit suspicious...
      • by jo42 (227475)

        Marketing and Advertising are two buckets of bullshit meant to extract people's hard earned money from them.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Marketing = lies. Is anyone really surprised?

      This goes beyond "marketing = lies" in the normal sense. Marketing may cherry pick facts, present only the most biased data, and say things that technically don't mean what they sound like, while still being correct, but this isn't that. This is outright fraud. These actors were presented on multiple occasions throughout the keynote as being "real customers" with "real stories". This isn't even, "here's a typical experience of our customer" (which would be a more normal marketing lie).

      This reminds me of tho

  • by improfane (855034) * on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:26AM (#35620704) Journal

    I never had a problem with Samsung, these companies are going to get worse with the bullshit if we just let them. Astrosurfing is something that needs to be fought back against. It needs to be made public.

    Why isn't there are defamation website or the realdeal or cutthebullshit website? Or thetrangressions website?

    Keep a history of all the bullshitty things a company has done to users. Apple and Microsoft would have reams of instance of screwing with the company. Something like fuckedcompany but more organized and has a specialized interface?

    It would need legal protection or it might be sued for defamation, even if it is correct. Does western civilization not realise how strongly the foot is on our throats?

    Bah.

    • by improfane (855034) *

      That should say screwing with customers.

      Every business function (but IT) are professional liars [dilbert.com]. The world is sucking it up advertising and marketing as how society should be. The "cheaters" are winning [edu365.cat]. We're the grudgers but we're acting like suckers!

      Our society is being selected for bullshit over honesty. Why are we letting this happen?

      • That should say screwing with customers.

        Every business function (but IT) are professional liars.

        You've obviously never called tech "support."

        • by digitig (1056110)
          Oh, the liar there is whoever named the department, not those who work there!
          • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:57AM (#35621082)

            Oh, the liar there is whoever named the department, not those who work there!

            Support Agent: No sir, we haven't heard of any other reports of spiders coming out of our cell phones. You must have left it somewhere the spiders could get to it.
            Customer: What? There are 1,000's of posts about this in your support forums!
            Support Agent: We're not responsible for what people post in our forums.
            Customer: Hey, look, your CEO is on the news. He's been taken to the hospital with what appears to be a poisonous spider bite!
            Support Agent: That's impossible sir. I know for a fact that our CEO uses the model that uses shellfish extract for it's finish and has the random scorpion in the box. He does not use the model that has the spiders in it.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        Every business function (but IT) are professional liars [dilbert.com].

        "We can set up the new site under budget."

    • by Homburg (213427)

      This isn't astroturfing. Samsung made promotional videos which they showed as promotional videos. It's completely clear that this is Samsung expressing their opinion about their own product, which is advertizing, not astroturf.

      • Exactly. TV adverts have actors, billboard ads have models. People here need to get a grip.

        Who here would actually buy a $1000 gadget based solely on a TV ad, without at least looking at the specs and reading some actual reviews first?

        • Who here would actually buy a $1000 gadget based solely on a TV ad, without at least looking at the specs and reading some actual reviews first?

          I really doubt marketing departments ever consider what /.ers think before thrusting their products on the market. We are not anyone's target demographic unless they are selling something that is extremely technical that comes with both sarcastic and pedantic documentation that no one will read.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:41AM (#35621634) Homepage Journal

            I really doubt marketing departments ever consider what /.ers think...

            This is a common meme and also very wrong. I am an average Slashdot user, and I see advertising all over the magazines I read and the websites I visit (well, I would if I didn't use adblock and ghostery, except on Slashdot). Some of those magazines are pretty specialized.

            Also, if marketing departments didn't care what we think, would they ever pay companies like New Media Strategies to sent armies of astroturfers here to post comments and disrupt our discussions on a daily basis? And by "armies" I mean most of the UIDs from 1900000 to 2000000. And according to my Texas Instruments programmable and graphic calculator, comes to about a hundred thousand astroturfers, or if you are so inclined, 1 x 10^5, or 11000011010100000.

            • New Media Strategies to sent armies of astroturfers here to post comments and disrupt our discussions on a daily basis? And by "armies" I mean most of the UIDs from 1900000 to 2000000

            • if marketing departments didn't care what we think, would they ever pay companies like New Media Strategies to sent armies of astroturfers here to post comments and disrupt our discussions on a daily basis? And by "armies" I mean most of the UIDs from 1900000 to 2000000. And according to my Texas Instruments programmable and graphic calculator, comes to about a hundred thousand astroturfers

              If there really were armies of astroturfers raiding Slashdot, we should be seeing more than 120 responses to a story that presses all the right buttons.

          • We are not anyone's target demographic unless they are selling something that is extremely technical that comes with both sarcastic and pedantic documentation that no one will read.

            Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

            • Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

              I'd be glad to sign you up. Just send $1 to 'Happy Dude', 742 Evergreen Terrace ...

        • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @08:14AM (#35621140) Homepage Journal

          Normally, we can assume they're all actors, but this isn't stretching the truth, this is a more flagrant dishonesty. The ad tells you that these are people and plainly gives you their "occupation" in a visual language that they are clearly trying to tell us they're real people and their real occupation, when it's not the case. The names they give are the actor's real names, which really muddies the waters in my opinion, give the actor's real names but fake their occupation.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Exactly. TV adverts have actors, billboard ads have models. People here need to get a grip

          I think you misunderstand. The meaning of this story is that it is proof that the iPad is the superior tablet because the smiling people who appear in the iPad advertisements are all real people and not models.

      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        They would have been promotional videos if they had stated the people in them were actors. This used to be a common practice for product ads. The fact that they skipped that bit is misleading and I happen to agree this practice is no better than dishonest astroturphing. Surely they could have found actual people pleased with the tablet had they spent chump change out of the Samsung budget.

        There is no reason a company of Samsung's size should do this.

      • No they were presented as "interviews" and "true-life stories." not advertisements. It would be one thing if actors portrayed real people or if it was presented as an ad. But they were not.
      • by HalAtWork (926717)

        It's completely clear that this is Samsung expressing their opinion about their own product, which is advertizing, not astroturf.

        If it's completely clear, then why are the article authors, the post submitter, and many of the comment posters confused? Why is it fabricated such that the average viewer who didn't do hours of research to familiarize themselves with the context of the ad, would get confused about the ad?

    • Keep a history of all the bullshitty things a company has done to users.

      If it helps, on the same site as the article:

      "Microsoft Bob, the Program That Didn't Change the World" [technologizer.com]

    • There are three professions where being untruthful is the key to success: Lawyers, salespeople, and marketing. All three are hired to portray their client in the most favorable light possible, and the very best ones lie through their teeth. The worst of these three are the marketers because they have legions of psychologists and scientists trying to figure out the best way to lie to people.
    • by hey! (33014)

      To answer the question you posed: we're gullible. For that reason none of the solutions you pose would work, because any one of them could and would be used by a malicious party to exploit our gullibility. The only solution to the problem is to find some way of making people less gullible.

      If you're interested, I have a cure for gullibility, and have started a multilevel marketing program to sell it. You could get in on the ground floor. I guarantee that the vast majority of participants will come out of m

    • by node 3 (115640)

      The problem with such a site is that it would have to be carefully curated to keep a bunch of lame bullshit off of it. Something like this is pretty clear cut, and Microsoft's astroturfing along with the fake "I'm a PC" people are less egregious, but still reasonable examples for such a site. But the idea that the site would be filled with "reams" of examples from MS and Apple betrays a very low standard for what should be included.

      Geeks get easily offended by small things that not only don't bother other p

  • News at 11... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hamster_nz (656572) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:27AM (#35620710)

    Guess what? The people in ads are, well, actors.

    And for the uber-naive, some online reviews are written by the product's manufactures!

    • Re:News at 11... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:43AM (#35620742)
      That's fine, as long as you don't introduce the actor as "Dr. Joe Smith, M.D. here to endorse our penile enlargement program" when Joe is a janitor and wannabe actor. That's not "acting" or "marketing." It's just plain fraud.
    • Re:News at 11... (Score:4, Informative)

      by uglyduckling (103926) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:33AM (#35621014) Homepage
      This isn't an ad, it's billed as "The Samsung Galaxy Tab Interview Project", and the video opens with someone receiving an invitation. They are clearly implying that they are interviewing real people, which is false advertisement. It's one thing to have a video of an actor who appears to be in an office environment saying how amazing the product is; it's another thing entirely to falsely claim they are a real person being interviewed.
    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      Most ads; NatWest and Halifax banks in the UK seem to like making adverts using actual employees. That or really bad actors.

    • by obarel (670863)

      I thought that all the people who said "Windows 7 was my idea" were actually on the development team.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Guess what? The people in ads are, well, actors.

      Unless they engage in the propaganda technique of "Just Plain Folks" by using actual plain folks, which is not unusual. It's called a "testimonial" and it is frequently used to hawk crap late at night or early in the morning.

    • by tsj5j (1159013)

      Just because many companies astroturf their products doesn't make it right, it is still false advertising.

      They should be called out for it and these actions should be discouraged (preferably by law).
      And that's exactly what this article attempts to do.

    • by hey! (33014)

      You mean ... all those ads with attractive people who are suffering vague but apparently uncomfortable maladies, then they talk to their doctor about some pill and afterward enjoy a happy active lifestyle ... They're *staged*?

      That's impossible. The pharmaceutical companies would have to want people to pester their doctors for medications they don't need to do something like that.

  • Maybe the travel writer and real-estate CEO actors just told bullshit during the interview? Once during the GFC I was running a bit low on cash and told someone I really enjoyed .NET web development to pick up some interim work.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @05:30AM (#35620720) Homepage

    The "true-life" users might not be entirely suitable for sticking in front of a camera. Maybe they get nervous and clam up, or maybe they don't look or sound "right" for the video. Maybe there are issues with performing rights. It's far simpler to get the "true-life" user stories, write them up into something that flows, and get someone that can get a line out without sounding like a total idiot to perform them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      And if you don't put "dramatization" or "actors" (or at least "real stories told by actors" which I've seen more than once) at the bottom of the screen when lying, it's no longer "marketing" it's "fraud."
      • IANAL but this was something a quick googling found: http://law.jrank.org/pages/6727/False-Advertising-Proof-Requirement.html [jrank.org]

        Doesn't really seem to quite make the cut for fraud.
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          There was a false statement about the product. "Bob, the real estate CEO, endorses our product." That's a fake review. There have been people prosecuted for fake reviews before. That meets the definition you presented, as long as one accepts a fake endorsement to be a statement of fact (it is) about a product (it is) and that statement of fact is false (it is). So I don't see how a fake person named Bob is presented as a real person with a real and factual endorsement of a product when that person and
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Homburg (213427)

        Yeah, it's just as well that Christopher Nolan put something at the bottom of the screen saying Christian Bale is an actor, and Batman doesn't actually exist, or he'd be doing hard time for fraud right now.

        • by ibmjones (52133)

          Christopher Nolan was not marketing Batman as a real person.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:51AM (#35621704)

          Yeah, it's just as well that Christopher Nolan put something at the bottom of the screen saying Christian Bale is an actor, and Batman doesn't actually exist, or he'd be doing hard time for fraud right now.

          Try watching the credits until a message similar to this one comes along :

          "The events depicted in this movie are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental."

          It's in every friggin' movie.

        • ... Christian Bale is an actor ...

          That'd be more fraudulent than not saying it.

    • by msauve (701917) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:09AM (#35620956)

      It's far simpler to get the "true-life" user stories, write them up into something that flows, and get someone that can get a line out without sounding like a total idiot to perform them.

      How convenient for Samsung, then, that they were able to find actors who had the exact same names as the characters they played! FTA:

      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.

    • Apple didn't seem to have any problems. But then again, a lot of real people like their products, so they have a bigger pool to draw from.

  • They have no actual users...

  • That people don't realise that marketing companies use actors.

    The other day I saw an advertisement for a fast food establishment*, and there was a family there enjoying the food. I later learned that they weren't even related! The guy on the poster for haemorrhoid treatments doesn't actually have haemorrhoids either.

    The point is that they're not deceiving you about anything that matters. A travel writer could use the galaxy for that purpose. Perhaps a travel writer even did, and they got an actress
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @08:21AM (#35621164) Homepage Journal

      It's not the end of the world, but they're implying them as an endorsement by people in the field. The fact that the video says it's an "interview project" and list actual real names and but stretched or faked occupations, is pretty shady in my opinion.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      and there was a family there enjoying the food.

      Half the time the food in advertisment isn't even food, but silicon models and other uneatable stuff that are airbrushed to look like food.

      The point is that they're not deceiving you about anything that matters.

      The trouble starts when they portrait their fiction as fact. Its not a new thing and this case doesn't even look to be that bad compared to other stuff, but with the media landscape in general it becomes really quite troublesome to distinguish between fiction and fact as the lines get more on more blurry and most of the time it is best to just assume outright fiction unt

    • That'd be all fine and dandy, except that they made the claim that these people were real people using the Galaxy Tab and offering their own views, rather than actors. It's fine to have fake families eating meals together, so long as you don't claim that they are a real family, which is what happened here.

      Also of note, although the director in this marketing piece was actually a director, what went unsaid in the summary is that he's a director...who directs commercials for Samsung, so even he was acting in

  • by Weedhopper (168515) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:19AM (#35620842)

    Actors with day jobs!

    Look at the bio for the woman they link to. At the end, she actually is involved in some sort of travel "writing."

    Samsung's twisting the truth, but of all the dirty, underhanded crap that the big boys pull, this ain't a big one.

    • Re:Look at that! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:22AM (#35620990) Homepage Journal

      She's worked for the Travel Channel. It wouldn't surprise me if she's done some magazine articles. At the very least, her statement in the ad jibes with her career. I wonder if Joseph Kolinski has sold real estate.

      Honestly, if they were actors, being paid as actors to portray characters, wouldn't they be using character names? This kind of sounds like they may have picked a minor side job they do when they can't find acting work and used that as their career. Otherwise, why use their real names if they are playing wholly fictitious characters? It's not exactly like they would balk at playing a part using a character name.

      • That explains the poor performances better than just faking users. They're actors and all the jobs selling deoderant and feminine hygiene products are taken by people with sightly more talent (but not so much as to be regulars on a soap...), so they actually ARE telling real life stories of their jobs!

      • Re:Look at that! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Weedhopper (168515) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:42AM (#35621640)

        That was exactly my point when I commented on this article yesterday on the site itself.

        People are coming out of the woodwork screaming about fraud and astroturfing. No. Pretty much every single person who you'll find for this kind of gig is going to have an acting background on top of their day job. This is how the acting communities work. A handful of people out a hundred can make ends meet just by acting. The rest have to make ends meet by working day jobs. The overwhelming majority don't make much money at. Most move on after a period of time, but some of them plug away.

        One of my best friends had (and still has) the acting bug. She lived in New York for a while after graduating. and managed to get quite a few small roles while waiting tables and tending bar. Eventually, she gave up it as a vocation (I think her parents bribed her) and now she's a lawyer. Still participates in community theater, still loves getting in front of the camera whenever she's given the opportunity. Just like every other actor who never made it as a professional actor.

        And this is NYC we're talking about, for Taco's sake. CEO of a real estate company could describe a half dozen types of businesses that simply don't exist in most of the world.

        Oh yeah, and those shows like Blind Date and their ilk? Half those people are actors, too. They're not acting in a role other than themselves for Blind Date. They're trying to get "exposure" or just jumped at the chance to get in front of a camera.

        Of all the cockamamie REAL underhanded bullshit marketing tactics that big corporations pull every day, this is the one people are going to freak out about? GTFO.

  • by drb226 (1938360) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:43AM (#35620896)
    (Watched The Fine Video)

    I was skeptical, but I have to admit it went beyond my expectations

    OK. Yes. I understand that most of the time, people in ads are actors. But this pushes it too far. It apparently shows the actor's real name, and (real?) age, and fake profession. Then these actors are "interviewed" about their "reaction" to the Galaxy tab. I can understand putting comments like "it's just what I need!" in a fake ad. I can also understand using an actor to portray the testimonial of some other real person. But this appears to be 100% fabricated. When you start inventing "skeptical" people that turn believer about your product, you're stepping over the line.

    (That said, I think the Galaxy Tab is freaking awesome and would love to have one.)

    • "(That said, I think the Galaxy Tab is freaking awesome and would love to have one.)"

      The Galaxy Tab is relatively nice. It is not worth the price unless you do not have to save up to buy one. The screen is larger than a typical phone so it seems like it would be good for reading, but honestly, the screen is still to small for reading comfortably. It sure beats a phone for reading though.

      You should not buy one in America. Buy an international version so it is not locked and has the phone enabled. You do not

  • by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @06:56AM (#35620932)

    This is nothing compared to what I learned about Apple's Mac ads... Get this... the guy who says "I'm a mac..." he isn't actually a computer at all! Neither is PC! I couldn't believe it, but it was a pretty reliable source who told me this.

  • Tomorrow, the world!

    Oh, wait...

  • They're not ALL "historical documents?"
  • by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @07:32AM (#35621012)

    Marketing talking out of their ass? This threatens my entire understanding of the universe!!!!111eleventyone

  • Don't be so harsh...Actors are people too!

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:08AM (#35621462)

    It isn't the astroturfing, marketing or advertising deception that irks me, it is the hypocrisy. I don't mind buying products on the recommendation of a shill just so long as I can use what _appear_ to be banknotes to pay for them.

  • by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:50AM (#35621686)
    Did you know that Justin Long ISN'T REALLY A MAC? Or that John Hodgeman ISN'T REALLY A PC?

    It's a commercial. With actors in it. Deal with it

  • This is a totally useless story. What's important are the technical specs and the experience. Who actually cares that actors were used in a commercial?

  • by sribe (304414) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:36AM (#35621980)

    Well yes, and also did you see the article where someone put the new "0.2 millimeter thinner than an iPad" next to an iPad and discovered that it was in fact thicker than an iPad?

    And when the reporter asked to turn it on and use it, he was told he couldn't turn it on because it was just a "prototype". Uhm, no, prototypes generally do something, if it doesn't power up then it's a "mockup". So they claim they're going to make a tablet thinner than the iPad very soon now, but they can't even make a mockup to hand around that's actually thinner than the iPad???

  • "Buy this expensive tablet device from us and we'll provide feature and/or security updates for the life of the product."

    "These are real users of our products."

    See, when you can't trust a company you're going to be less likely to do business with them.

  • but some marketing pr rep for a galaxy tab competitor got a shallow smear astroturfed onto slashdot

    isn't advertising grand?

  • I am surprised to hear anyone confess to not seeing the video in question as staged within the first 5 seconds.

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