FORTUNE -- Ken Segall worked with Steve Jobs for 14 years, during which time he put the i in iMac and found the thread that links Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart. But though he no longer works as a creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Segall is still keeping a close eye on Apple's (AAPL) marketing efforts on his Observatory blog.
And he doesn't like what he's been seeing.
"Apple's advertising history is as famous as its products," Segall wrote Monday after the Oscars. "But something's changed. While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can't argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising. The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung."
But Samsung is willing to outspend Apple (and everyone else), and it's found a message that has proven to be, according to Segall, tremendously potent.
"The company continues to bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.
"In contrast to Apple, which has been sticking to its product-based ads, Samsung has been scoring points with its people-based ads — most of which play off some growing negative perceptions about Apple...
"On this first day after the Oscars, there's some buzz out there about the [new iPad] ads. But for the first time ever, Apple is struggling to get its share. Samsung continues to gain momentum, thanks to its double-barreled approach of creativity and big spending.
"I imagine Apple is feeling a bit like Obama after his first debate with Romney. It deeply believes in its ideas; it just needs to express them more forcefully.
"There are too many smart people at Apple and Chiat to take this lying down. I expect to see Apple do exactly what Obama did. The stakes couldn't be higher, and it's time to recalibrate."
With a new fake Apple news site, two TBWA\Chiat\Day veterans bite the hand that fed them
A sampling of the headlines from Scoopertino, the "insanely funny" fake news site that launched Tuesday:
Steve Jobs set to explode: Apple CEO to use iPhone app to demolish historic Jackling house following legal victory
Apple board fractures in Steve Jobs salary spat: Angry CEO demands pay boost to $1.05 per year
Pentagon licenses Reality Distortion Field for MORE
Meet the creative director who named a generation of Apple products
The TBWA\Chiat\Day creative team was horrified in 1998 when Steve Jobs pulled back a cloth and revealed the bulbous teardrop that came to be known as the Bondi-Blue iMac.
But then Jobs wasn't so crazy at first about the name they proposed for it.
No one had ever seen anything like the new computer, veteran creative director Ken Segall tells Cult of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 4, 2009 1:47 PM ET
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