The Hype Machine: Why I Hate Samsung Press Conferences

Hey, have you heard? CES is coming! Next month! It’s going to be great. Seriously, it is. I’ve only been to CES once before (last year), but I liked it a lot. And the 2013 show is going to be a blast, too. Ron and I are going to be there for AP! We’ll be critcizing reporting on all sorts of new Android stuff.

And let me emphasize that again: I really, really look forward to the show. I look forward to meeting the various OEMs, chipset makers, and all the crazy-weird companies that somehow afford a booth on the show floor. CES is gadget Mecca, and it’s fun to just sort of bask in the overwhelming ridiculousness (and awesomeness) of it all.

But then there’s Samsung’s press conference. Last year, if you were at the show, you may remember it: there was a line probably a thousand people deep to get into a ballroom at the Venetian. It sucked. We (myself and Artem) waited, but we didn’t queue up soon enough, and probably 500+ people were turned away. We just assumed the turnout was because Samsung was so gosh-durned trendy.

Well, after receiving our “invitation” to CES 2013’s Samsung press conference (I use that word in ironic quotes very intentionally), I’m ready for an even bigger clusterfuck. I don’t even know if we’ll get in by planning ahead. Why?

A little thing called “first come, first served.”

Yes, that means every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a business card and CES lanyard (they say “the media,” but something tells me badge type checks won’t be strictly enforced, and if they will be, it’s not mentioned) can get in line and see what’s new from Samsung. Great. Because Joe Blow from High Tech Metalworking Monthly who has nothing better to do on his boring Monday at the show wants to the see the next Galaxy thingamajig!

We experienced this last year. There were tech outlets that, frankly, no one’s ever heard of in line for the press conference, and that had no real place taking seats from members of the press that are actually there to work. I don’t want in the Samsung press conference because it’s exciting (even if it is) – I want in because I’m there to deliver information to our readers. It’s my job.

And yet, I guarantee that once again, this year will be nothing short of the line for Space Mountain at Disneyland on high school Senior Trip night.

And why does Samsung do this? It’s very obvious to me: hype. Samsung wants as many people in that line at CES as humanly possible. They want everyone vying for a chair. They want to turn people away once the room is packed to the brim – to give the event a sense of exclusivity. To make it feel like something Apple would do.

And it’s stupid. It really is. In fact, it’s juvenile – no one else (of consequence) at CES does this but Samsung.

So, I’m going to line up that morning, and I’m going to sit there. And I’m going to miss another press conference for another manufacturer, and instead, sit on the carpet in the hallway of a Vegas hotel within the carefully laid-out bounds of two sets of velvet ropes. Because Samsung wants me to do that.

How nice.

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