The creator of Apple's best-known ad campaign left after his Mac Genius spots bombed
FORTUNE — I thought Samsung’s pre-Superbowl commercial — the one featuring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd as copy writers hamstrung by the threat of trademark lawsuits — was quite clever. Brilliant, even.
But I also wondered whether the inside joke it was making — about Apple’s AAPL long-running legal battles with Samsung — might go over the heads of viewers who don’t follow tech news as closely as I do.
So I tested the commercial on an unscientific sample of typical TV viewers (i.e. my wife). Not only did she not get the joke, but she had no idea what the ad was trying to sell.
Why would Samsung spend million of dollars on a commercial that fails to sell a product?
Two words: Scott Trattner.
Trattner was the executive creative director at Apple’s top ad agency, TBWA/Media Arts Lab, and widely credited with some of Cupertino’s most successful ad campaigns, including the long-running Get a Mac series. In August, Ad Age reported that Trattner had left TBWA/MAL after its “Mac Genius” commercials were pulled off the air.
Trattner’s new agency? 72andSunny, whose clients include K-Swiss, Target, Activision and — you guessed it — Samsung.
Without access to the inner circles of these ad agencies, any connections being made between the Mac Genius spots, Trattner’s departure and Samsung’s Superbowl ad are purely speculative. But that hasn’t stopped anyone. Here’s MacDailyNews‘ somewhat biased take:
Speaking of YouTube, Trattner and Samsung may yet have the last laugh. My wife doesn’t get the joke, but clearly a lot of people do. By Sunday morning, El Plato Supreme had drawn 7.5 million views on YouTube.
UPDATE: The official 2-minute Superbowl ad appeared on YouTube overnight.