A common refrain heard from Apple critics is that Apple's success has everything to do with marketing and not much at all to do with innovative products. In years past, for instance, they often liked to say that the iPod was just a ho-hum MP3 player that was able to own the market thanks to an assortment of dancing silhouette ads.
In truth, advertising will only take you so far. In the short term, it's a great way to introduce the public to your product, but in the long run, a cash-infused marketing campaign touting less-than-stellar products that consumers don't want is destined to fail.
That being the case, Horace Dediu of Asymco last week posted a chart that really puts Apple's advertising efforts into perspective.
Over each of the last five years, both Samsung and Microsoft spent more on advertising than Apple. In 2012 in particular, Samsung spent more than 4x as much on advertising than Apple did. To be fair, Samsung's product lineup is far more expansive than Apple's, but the chart above should serve as a reminder that Apple's success is rooted in great products, not a bloated advertising budget.
An interesting question to ponder, though: Seeing as how Samsung has shrewdly used advertising to effectively own the Android smartphone market, should Apple leverage some of its extensive cash reserves to more heavily advertise its own products?