New evidence has come to light drawing a clear connection between Steve Jobs’ death and the timing of Samsung’s initial PR attacks on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Recently released Samsung internal emails show that Jobs’ death in October of 2011 marked the exact moment when Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) decided to begin ads attacking Apple and its immensely successful iPhone.

Apple Vs Samsung

Samsung changed tactics after Jobs’ death

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) exec Michael Pennington was apparently a key player in the decision to go after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). His thought was that Jobs’ death was going to lead to a lot of positive press for Apple, and that free media coverage would spill over to the iPhone. He argued Samsung needed to act proactively to minimize the impact of all the positive press. The final result of Pennington’s prodding was a strong, focused ad campaign showing that Samsung’s phone was better than the iPhone.

Marketing against Apple became new strategy

Given its initial success, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) decided to move ahead with head-to-head advertising with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). This eventually led to the hugely successful “Next Big Thing” campaign in 2012, which poked fun at people standing in line at Apple stores. That ad campaign was so effective that Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller told the company’s ad agency it needed to come up with something big to compete with Samsung.

Major marketing campaigns grew to become a big part of Samsung’s strategy for success.  Samsung is one of the few companies that has thrived in a competitive smartphone landscape. In fact, it’s the only Android phone maker currently profitable and Samsung sells more phones globally than any other company.

Its marketing efforts have also helped Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) in its legal disputes with Apple. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s central arguments in court are that Samsung’s success is largely due to copying the iPhone software’s look and design, but Samsung has had some success in arguing the strong sales of their phones are mainly due to marketing and hardware.