Samsung has generated a bit of buzz in the tech world this week by announcing a Kanye West and Jay Z concert at SXSW that is only open to owners of its Galaxy devices.
It marks the continuation of Samsung’s association with Jay Z, as back in 2013 Galaxy owners could grab a free copy of the rapper’s new album by downloading an app.
This inspired me to delve further into Samsung’s back catalogue to see what other interesting digital marketing campaigns it had been come up with over the years.
The Galaxy 11
Samsung signed up 13 of the world’s best footballers to create the ‘Galaxy 11’ , a team tasked with protecting the world while also promoting the brand’s new products.
Lionel Messi was revealed as the team’s captain in November 2013 after a short teaser campaign called #WinnerTakesEarth that involved placing cryptic messages and symbols at football games around the world.
The #Galaxy11 campaign was then kicked off with a video of Messi accepting the captain’s armband from Franz Beckenbauer as aliens hovered overhead.
A dedicated minisite allows users to view the Samsung Galaxy equipment that the team will use, watch videos of the players and join the team by creating a shareable image of themselves in a spacesuit.
It’s a huge campaign that combines traditional and digital media, but there’s an emphasis on creating short clips and images that people will want to share on social.
The overall theme centres on the idea that football will save the planet, though I don’t think the aliens will struggle against a team that includes Landon Donovan, Victor Moses and a Chinese footballer called Wu Lei who plays for the mighty Shanghai East Asia.
In 2012 Samsung launched a ‘Useless Bid’ campaign in India to promote its new Samsung Tab2 310.
The portable 7-inch device was supposed to make people’s other devices obsolete, so they could do away with their phone, camera, laptop and TV.
A YouTube ad and minisite described the features of the new Tab2 and encouraged people to auction their other devices.
The minisite included a game that allowed people to bid low prices for the useless products in order to stand a chance of winning a Tab2. Their bids could then be shared via Facebook.
The theme of doing away with useless products is another clever idea from Samsung and the incentive of winning a new tablet is certainly enough to encourage people to take part.
Samsung has taken great pleasure in mocking Apple in recent years, with several of its campaigns aimed at dispelling the weird fan culture that surrounds its rival.
Back in 2010 Samsung sought to pinch some Apple customers through some clever community outreach.
It identified several people who had complained about their iPhone on Twitter and sent them a free, unlocked Samsung S as a replacement.
Though it was only targeted to a handful of users it was presumably aimed at people who had a sizeable following and could act as brand ambassadors.
Overall it seems like a cost-effective way of generating some extra social buzz.
#OverToYou is another campaign that highlights Samsung’s use of social and online communities to promote its new products.
Samsung gave Galaxy S4s to 12 prominent bloggers, sports people and YouTubers so they could create content using the phone and share it with their followers.
By using the S4 to come up with a creative, exciting video these 12 people were demonstrating the potential of the new device. Obviously the videos were also shareable, thereby giving Samsung some additional exposure outside of its normal marketing channels.
Samsung also ran a competition alongside the YouTube videos where people could submit their own ideas for a promo video and choose the S4 device that they would use to film it.
Incredible Art Piece
To promote its new Galaxy Note Pen Stylus feature Samsung launched an attempt to break the world record for the most people contributing to a single art piece.
The campaign, which was run by Samsung Mobile India, invited people to contribute to the massive art project either through a minisite, a Facebook app, or by drawing a picture offline and emailing it via Samsung.com.
Note II owners could also contribute using the S Note application on their device.
Participants had to create a digital drawing on the theme of ‘Colours of India’ which would then be added to the art installation. Weekly prizes were given out for the best entry.
More than 300,000 people took part in the campaign, breaking the original record of 201,958 by some margin. It was a great way of getting people involved in a fun campaign that allowed them be show off their creative side while also finding out more about Samsung’s products.
Another campaign cocking a snook at Apple fanboys, this time by creating a digital queue in preparation for the launch of the Galaxy S4 in New Zealand.
Samsung’s own fans could join the queue online through their Facebook or Twitter account 12 days before the phone was released and move up the line by sharing details of the S4’s new features as they were unveiled each day.
The more their friends retweeted, commented, ‘liked’ and shared the content, the further they moved up the queue.
It’s basically highly-incentivised word-of-mouth marketing that also takes a dig at the company’s greatest rival.
As a wonderful final flourish the virtual queue was broadcast on big screens outside a Samsung store in New Zealand, showing users’ avatars on the heads of characters waiting in line. The virtual line-waiters even reacted to the elements, hiding under sleeping bags at night and putting up umbrellas when it rained.
Around 12,000 users took part in the campaign, sharing 85,000 stories to more than 3m people, which ultimately achieved an organic reach of more than 15m people.
Like it, reveal it, win it
This one’s from way back in 2011 and highlights the means by which brands sought to boost their fan count in the early days of social.
Samsung hosted a weekly product giveaway on Facebook that incentivised users to participate regularly and invite friends to join them.
To take part users had to first ‘like’ the Samsung Facebook page then reveal parts of a hidden product image by recommending the contest to their friends.
By unlocking a greater number of hidden pixels users stood a better chance of winning the prize, which obviously encouraged people to send out the competition to more of their friends.
Samsung increased its fan count by 12,000 during the first week of the contest alone.
My final choice is yet another ad that expertly ridicules Apple fanboys. It’s a simple video showing people queuing outside an unnamed store for a phone that is inferior to the Samsung S3.
It’s not always a good idea for brands to be obsessed with their competitors, but I feel that this YouTube clip manages to poke fun at the hysteria that surrounds Apple product launches while also promoting the features of its own smartphones.
Fast forward to 18 seconds to hear two fanboys have a conversation about adaptors that played out almost word-for-word between Econsultancy’s own Ben Davis and Chris Lake just last week…