Samsung may have made a giant marketing blunder with a new video intended to push its SSD 840 EVO solid state hard drive. A video depicting three people struggling with slow computers and being amazed by the speed of the SSD 840 EVO drive has drawn the ire of Reddit, and not just for its terrible script, flat acting and ridiculously optimistic stock music. The video is also accused of promoting sexist and racist stereotypes.
The first character is a woman dressed in pink and sitting in a kitchen, saying that she uses her computer to look at pictures and help her kids with homework, “and that’s about it.”
“I leave my computer on because it takes so long to boot, so it’s always on while I do chores,” the she says.
There’s also an Asian male who seems the most technologically competent, using his computer for homework, video games and transferring files between different devices and his friends. Finally, there is the white male, who of course is at the office in a nice shirt and tie, saying his computer is primarily for work.
When each character is handed the SSD 840 EVO, the two male characters are already familiar with it. They smile and confidently get to work installing the hard drive.
The woman in the ad responds with a puzzled look and simply says, “What?” When it comes to installation, she just says, “Sorry, I don’t know how to.”
After the SSD 840 EVO is installed and all the characters are enjoying a boot-up that is now three times faster, the males are amazed by the speed and the fact that their files are still present. The woman just seems to ask for validation.
“Aw, I did it! Did you see that?” she says. After the Asian actor shows off his faster video games and the white businessman is more productive than ever, our friend in pink just continues to be thankful that Samsung finally designed a hard drive that she can figure out. “It’s so easy to use, look at what I’ve done. I feel like an expert.”
One commenter on Reddit, claiming to be the actor that portrayed the white businessman, offered an explanation for the Samsung ad.
“They force us to speak slowly since this will be dubbed over in Korean, and even when it isnt, most people viewing it will be Korean. They ask us to exaggerate since many Korean people feel thats how we 'naturally' act (most people here are not very expressive). Ive worked many jobs where I tried to act naturally only to be told by the director to act more 'bright' (ie exaggerate). its how the director and client (in this case, Samsung), WANT us to act. the script is brutal. written by non-native english speakers, and sometimes the PD or director wont even take our suggestions to change some parts so they sound like something a normal native english speaker would say. its a promotional video, not a tv commercial, meaning it will be shown at conventions and expos and in-house. most of the people watching it are korean and thats why they make us do all of the above. edit: almost forgot, shooting took place from 730am - 3am the next day, and by the time they shot the scenes with the girl, she was literally falling asleep in her chair, hence the stoned expression and tone.”
This definitely helps excuse the acting and writing shortcomings, but does it forgive the marketing department at Samsung for pushing racist and sexist stereotypes?
Some have argued that because the video was created for a primarily Korean audience, that it is unfair to criticize the ad from a Western point of view. Others point out that the video wasn’t intended for mass audiences, but was just going to be shown at trade shows and conventions to Korean audiences.
Detractors have fired back that it is fair for Western audiences to criticize the video when it was written in English for American actors. They say that these stereotypes are what continue make the tech industry a difficult place for women to participate.
Samsung quickly pulled the ad from YouTube, showing that the company clearly recognized a problem. Luckily, the Internet community had already created several mirrors of the video.
Do you think this ad for the Samsung SSD 840 EVO is racist or sexist? Let us know in the comments section.
Originally from Northern California, Ryan W. Neal came to New York to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia University. He joined IB Times April 2013, and is a writer...