Samsung N140 Promo Vid: Netbooks Make Better Companions Than Men

In my day job I write and read tech news and one of my beats is netbooks. This is no hardship as I love netbooks. In many ways it’s the machine I’ve been waiting for. However, I don’t always love the way netbooks are marketed. Early on advertising people had the idea that these small laptops would make great computers for women because they’re small and cute and fit in a purse and you can use them anywhere, like the kitchen. You know, for recipes.

Ugh.

I suppose tech companies are always trying to figure out ways to market effectively to women and sometimes they do it well, like the Vivienne Tam or Studio Tord Boontje Minis from HP, and sometimes it’s just patronizing bullshit, like the “Della” campaign from Dell. Yesterday I came across a video that falls somewhere in-between. It’s a promo from Samsung advertising the N140 netbook. If you click over to LAPTOP Magazine’s blog you can see a full exegesis on this vid, but the point comes down to: what the hell is going in this little movie and how is it supposed to make me want a netbook?

The idea of a netbook as an accessory to your busy or even not-so-busy life is a fine one. But the video’s plot, such as it is, doesn’t highlight that very well. Brad Linder of Liliputing guessed that it’s meant to show off the long battery life (it’s supposed to get 11 hours). All it seems to show off is that model’s ability to stretch her lanky body and possibly to warn young ladies from trusting that their boyfriends will pick them up at the train station as promised. Seriously, go look (and please comment there, I am eager to watch you all apply your creative minds to the plot and message).

When I compare that video to this one Nokia did for their new netbook, I find myself much more drawn to the Booklet 3G. This video tells me what this device is, what it does, what makes it special, and even includes some heart-tugging music that makes me want it even more.

I have to wonder if the ad people who put that together sought to appeal to men or both men and women. I’m not sure who the Samsung video is meant to appeal to. Regardless, the use of models to peddle netbooks just doesn’t seem like a great idea. Models don’t ever seem to use things, they just look good. What use is a netbook that just looks good? (Yes, I am talking smack about you Eee PC S101.)

But if we must have some beautiful women selling these things, here’s what I’d like to see: women actually using netbooks in some way that shows off what netbooks are good for while providing the eye candy that someone is convinced consumers need. That way it appeals to those of us to buy tech for what it does and those of us who buy anything because hot women are peddling it.

11 thoughts on “Samsung N140 Promo Vid: Netbooks Make Better Companions Than Men

  1. Skud

    Hey, don’t diss netbooks for recipe use ;) I use my OLPC XO computer in the kitchen because I figure that a kid-proof laptop is pretty safe from food splashes and stuff. Had to do some fairly complex messing around to upgrade it to a revision that would work with my Airport Express, but it’s working now. I’ve got almost 800 recipes bookmarked in del.icio.us (dating back to 2005) and a food blog that I keep meaning to update more often. But, yknow, “oh wow, I could use it for RECIPES” wasn’t really the deciding factor in buying any of my computers (netbook or otherwise).

    That Nokia one looks super sleek and sexy, and whoa, 12 hour battery life? Count me in! I just need to know if it’ll run Linux fairly smoothly.

    As for Samsung… pththtpt! Gimme some specs, and a woman in the ad that I can relate to. If it were even a small business owner, or a backpacker, or something, that’d be awesome.

  2. Azz

    The “heart-tugging music” leaves me a little more distracted and shocked about my poor childhood than into the laptop, honestly. Violent Femmes, now with full orchestra!

  3. Azz

    The N140 video shows me that you apparently don’t have to plug it in (long battery life, ok), that it has a non-slip outer case so you can cheerfully hold it in your hand as you’re crossing a busy street and won’t have to worry about dropping it and having it shatter on the pavement and possibly get run over — either that or the case is easy enough to scrape or ding that you don’t want to risk tossing it in your capacious purse, that the keyboard is small enough that you have to hunt and peck, and that text messaging can in some cases be more reliable for important scheduling messages: if you carry your netbook around like a cellphone (even into the bathroom!) you should probably take it with you on the train.

    Thinking about the non-slip case, a sturdy and decorative hand strap and/or a place to attach one might be a very useful feature in a netbook, much like the cellphone leash on a larger scale. If I tried carrying my Eee that way, I’d be freaked out that I was going to drop it at any moment; I’d probably have it out and use it more often if I did feel comfortable carrying it in my hand.

    1. Liz Henry

      I so agree – the market is really missing out by not building laptops and netbooks with anchor points where we could put straps! I’d vote for the place to attach straps rather than a built in, solid handle.

      1. Azz

        Such a strap could probably already be attached to an already-existing port for a laptop lock, come to think of it, if the port is strong enough to withstand the entire weight of the laptop and some tugging, which it ought to be.

      2. K. Tempest Bradford Post author

        Azz, someone on my facebook suggested the same thing and I think it’s a great idea. The only thing that might spoil it is if the placement of the Kensington port isn’t conducive to comfortable strap attachment. Otherwise, this is a pretty good solution. Obviously we need to find someone who can develop the product with us, then sell it to the adoring masses.

    2. Skud

      I’d also like them to have a better seal between the two halves and close quite tightly. I worry about stuff getting into mine and messing up the screen surface when I carry it around loose. With that and a wrist-strap, I’d be very happy.

  4. koipond

    I think this is one of those videos made by men who have no idea how to relate to women but is trying to do exactly that.

    “I know, we’ll have a woman use the product all the time in her everyday life.”
    “But she’s got to be doing it sexily.”
    “Of course!”

    And then she doesn’t bring it on the train? All for the sake of some joke where we get to “laugh” because she’s going to be stranded when she arrives wondering where the hell “Thierry” is?

    Seriously?

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