Samsung Electronics set out to promote its Galaxy Gear smart watch in the United States last weekend by releasing TV commercials. While some US media - namely Business Insider - praised the new advertisements, others took issue with one of the spots with similarities to Apple's 2007 "Hello" commercial.
The Gear's "Long Time Coming" ad consists of excerpts from old movies, cartoons and TV shows that feature characters communicating through their wrist device. Captain Kirk of "Star Trek", George Jetson of the children's cartoon "Jetsons", and even popular fictional caveman Fred Flintstone from the "Flintstones" make cameo appearances.
After a series of America's most widely-recognised characters sweep the screen, the ad wraps up with the image of Galaxy Gear and the message, "The Next Big Thing is Here".
Samsung's archrival Apple presented a spot considered similar in 2007 when it released the very first iPhone.
The "Hello" ad for iPhone contains scenes from old movies, ranging from black-and-white movies to relatively recent animation films, where a parade of people say "hello" into the phones of their respective times. Just like"Long Time Coming," the commercial ends with the image of the new product and a message, "Hello."
"It seems clear that the 'Hello' spot was an inspiration for Samsung's Galaxy Gear spot," said Matthew Panzarino of Tech Crunch, a news website focused on technology. He added that while the Gear's spot was not a copy, it showed "a distinct difference in thinking" between Samsung and Apple.
Chris Matyszczyk of tech media CNET also noted the similarities and said that it would be surprising if Samsung's creative team had no knowledge of Apple's ad. He added that the messages being conveyed by the two were very different.
Despite the apparent resemblance between the TV spots, it would be a long shot to try and build a copyright infringement case against Samsung as none of the scenes used in the two commercials are identical. Moreover, many people noting the resemblance between the ads say that the Samsung ad could hardly be considered a direct rip-off.