One creepy, one poignant, one bizarre.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
December 24, 2013

FORTUNE — Apple AAPL took some heat for “Misunderstood” — a holiday TV ad that spent most of its precious 90 seconds seeming to reinforce the stereotype of a socially awkward teenage boy with his nose in a smartphone. But that was before the critics saw what Samsung and Nokia NOK UK had served up for the holidays.



Last year, it was Samsung that seemed to have the magic touch on TV, producing spots like El Plato Supreme, a pre-Superbowl video that drew nearly 10 million views on YouTube. Then Samsung’s ad agency lost the services of Scott Trattner, the creative director behind some of Apple’s best work, including the long-running Get a Mac series. In February, Trattner came back to TBWAMedia Arts Lab, Apple’s agency, and it showed.

Earlier this month, Trattner jumped again — this time to Facebook FB .

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