To show us that their washing machine is faster than the competition, Samsung has made one of the slowest ads.
Where are we going? To how firms compete.
The Samsung Ad
According to Samsung, the average person in the U.K. spends 61 (or so) days during a lifetime waiting for the washing machine to stop. Since Samsung thought we might want to cut a day or two from the wait, it created “Washing Machine” to demonstrate that Samsung machines are faster than the competition.
This is an excerpt from the film’s description. For a smile, it is worth reading:
“The film chronicles the full cycle, moment by moment, of Samsung’s QuickDrive washing machine, in this big screen addition to the canon of slow cinema treats. The production team captured the action with a single long shot trained on the machine to bring the full glory of the wash, rinse and spin to the screen.”
Meanwhile the Michael Nyman soundtrack “takes the audience on a passage through the various stages of the wash cycle…with thematic ideas developing as the wash progresses.”
In the film, the red socks are the stars. If you fast forward to 36:17, or 59:28 or 1:06:58, you can see them.
It is mesmerizing:
Our Bottom Line: Competitive Market Structures
You can see below that Samsung competes in an oligopolistic market. Few firms dominate, they have price-making power, and their “behavior” can be mutually dependent. Like the Samsung faster washing machine ad, they use non-price competition.
So yes, we may be looking specifically at Samsung. But its market behavior echos Coke and Pepsi, or General Mills and Kelloggs, or Verizon and AT&T. Each large firm wants to differentiate its product.
I guess that means more 66 minute ads with some great music?
My sources and more: I recommend WSJ for the details on “Washing Machine” and market share data. It also was fun to read Adweek’s description of the film. However, for a more serious look at oligopoly, this New Yorker article is excellent.