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10 of the funniest, perviest, dumbest, and strangest smartphone commercials

Nokia N8 Pink Barbie Commercial
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The war for smartphone supremacy is raging. This is a take-no-prisoners industry, and the advertising scene is the main battleground. Companies have grown increasingly bitchy in their attempts to outdo each other. Smugness has scaled new heights. For every rare advertising triumph that achieves poignancy you have to endure at least 20 awful ads that make you want to tear your eyeballs out.

Apple spent just shy of $1 billion on advertising in 2012, Microsoft spent $1.6 billion, and Samsung spent around $2.5 billion. Of course, these companies sell a lot of things all across the world. According to Kantar Media data U.S. mobile ad spending in 2012 was $401 million for Samsung, $333 million for Apple, $46 million for HTC, $35 million for BlackBerry, and just $13 million for Nokia. And you wonder why Samsung and Apple top the sales charts. Let’s take a look at where that money is going.

Here are some of the funniest, and dumbest, smartphone ads.

LG Optimus G murders other phones

We had to go to Germany to unearth this little gem. It’s called “Hard times for old smartphones.” Have you ever wanted to see a smartphone cooked on a stove until it explodes? Well if you enjoyed that there are two other ads in the series titled Toaster and Blender. We’ll let you guess what happens in those. It’s not clear what this twisted and graphic smartphone murder has to do with the LG Optimus G specifically, but it’s fun to watch.

Android and iPhone users battle royale

Microsoft comically highlights the stereotypical differences that are so often attributed to fandroids or members of the cult of Apple. The two tribes of fanboys, and girls, are quick to start a raging fight over their phones and they’re so obsessed they don’t mind ruining a wedding. The only abstainers are two waiting staff with Nokia Lumia 920s. It’s refreshingly honest, in that only two people out of a couple of hundred have Windows Phones, and the rest have never heard of the Nokia Lumia 920.

The next big thing is already here

This is an unrelenting attack on the iPhone and the people who queue up to buy it. There’s nothing subtle about it, but it does make some good points. Samsung isn’t pulling any punches in its assault on Apple, but this approach only works when you’re the underdog. It may have helped Samsung get popular with the Galaxy S3, but it’s starting to get tired, as you’ll see in the next ad.

Galaxy S4 Smug Grad Party

Is it just me, or is it impossible to watch this ad without feeling nauseous? That lighthearted comical music, the atrocious overacting, the photogenic cast – watch Samsung smug it up as the S4 is the coolest phone at the party. Never mind the fact that most of the “features” shown off can be replicated on any phone with the right apps. Smell the ribs? I can smell something all right.

iPhone’s flash turns people into zombies

This ad is for the Lumia 925 and specifically refers to its ability to take low light photos without the flash, unlike the iPhone which transforms people into red-eyed, pale-skinned izombies. The approaching zombie apocalypse is not news. My shelter is already fully stocked and my boomstick is loaded, but who knew that the end of times would be brought about by iPhone flashes? Is the ability to take great low-light shots without the flash enough to get you to switch from iPhone to Windows Phone? Probably not, but it did present an opportunity to depict iPhone owners as mindless zombies.

Windows Phone accurately depicts the state of the world

If Windows Phones were as good as their ads, I’d buy two right now, but sadly they’re not. This has to be one of the best smartphone ads ever, although it does suggest that people are too attached to their phones and the answer is to buy a Windows Phone, because, well … you’ll be less interested in it? Supposedly it’s because you can “get in and out” faster thanks to Live Tiles. Hmmm.

Barbie dolls, lasers, a Pink song, and the Nokia N8

How do you advertise the pink version of a phone? I know, let’s have a Barbie doll wearing a Nokia N8 (read our Nokia N8 review) bra that fires lasers. This ad is enough to scare your children, what with all the dismembered doll limbs, long legged deer riding, and general weirdness. There’s no doubt that it’s unique, but who is this supposed to appeal to, exactly? What does it have to do with the Nokia N8? At least it has those lasers.

Dancing ninja’s and an actual Apple phone

This one’s called “Sími sem skilur þig” or “Phones that separate you.” It has dancing ninjas, a mysterious ram, and the ubiquitous Apple reference – this time in the shape of actual apples. This is how Samsung advertises the Galaxy S4 in Iceland. I suspect the director may be an Ingmar Bergman fan. It’s slightly more subtle, but the weirdness factor is through the roof. The real mystery to work out it is how this is supposed to make you want to buy a Galaxy S4.

Perfect shot of that woman on the plane

You can always trust the French to produce a sleazy, creepy ad like this, but we have to say, it’s a little funny. In this Vodaphone France commercial (yes, we realize it’s a flip phone, not a smartphone…), a guy encounters a beautiful young woman sleeping on a plane and decides to pretend she’s his girlfriend. In case you’re wondering, she’s French film star, Emmanuelle Béart and I suspect he’d end up being arrested if he got caught doing this for real. What do you think – funny or creepy?

Wes Anderson’s Japanese SoftBank commercial with Brad Pitt

In case you think being pervy is just a French thing, here’s a Japanese ad for service provider Softbank that was directed by Wes Anderson and stars Brad Pitt trying to snap a cheeky photo of a topless girl. Is there anything these guys won’t do for money? It’s well made, but weird – very, very weird.

That’s our 10 weird mobile phone ads. What’s your favorite? Got another one that you’d like to suggest? Post a comment and share.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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