The Gamesmanship of Product and Celebrity Partnerships

In a subtle but effective way, Samsung was able to engage a key demo target in not just creating buzz for the release in the US today of the Samsung Galaxy S II, but also conveying its capabilities.  They provided a number of the phones to YouTube sensation, FreddiW and his filmmaking partner Brandon Laatsch in order to create the video Gamer Commute – effectively working to co-opt FreddiW’s huge fan base.  Samsung fully played into their product storyline that the new mobile phone is perfect for gaming and multimedia.  In engaging FreddiW to do a video that utilized gaming components, hi-def video and low-cost filmmaking using the Samsung Galaxy S II, they were able to be seen as relevant and strong to the 5.8MM-and-growing viewers of the video less than a week after its launch. 

In addition to some paid media executions by Samsung adjacent to the video and overlaying, there is a mention of the use of Samsung phones in the video and credits.  Samsung will most likely be using elements in the video for other ad creatives around the product’s release. 

What is most interesting – other than Samsung and their agency, Digitas, using available resources smartly – is the amount of views of the “making of” video received.  In that video, FreddiW and Laatsch mention the use of the Galaxy’s video camera and also touted its advanced capabilities in achieving hi-quality executions. It had a longer Samsung Galaxy S II claimer/disclaimer than the actual “Gamer Commute.” 

And, the best part about it was that the BTS video had over 300K views!  Most brands would be happy to have that many views of a campaign’s main video.  Many times, their videos hit the 5MM mark and even their BTS videos are in the upper hundred of thousands.

So, Samsung and Digitas were able to take advantage of an outlet with strong reach and they did it in a relevant way.  The celebrities/advocates were not taken out of their norm to push the product, so it didn’t seem forced or fake to their usual audience.  To cite an example of where the celebrity/advocate absolutely sold out is when Perez Hilton left the coffee shop on Sunset to cozy up with the brands and studios.  It was great for him but cheap to his audience. They didn’t force a lame insertion of the product and are relying on PR and tasteful media executions to convey the brand’s messaging.

Looking to co-opt an audience is a tricky one, but Digitas and Samsung seemed to find a perfect partner in FreddiW and then they got it right in leveraging that content across many platforms.

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