Samsung's Marketing Capitalizes On Real-Time Moments

Los Angeles, Calif.-- Samsung’s tremendous recent success for its mobile products has a lot to do with its marketing that comes from many real-time/last-minute decisions -- and a bit of improvisation.

The high-profile branded integration for the Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone during ABC’s “The Oscars” where host Ellen DeGeneres took a "selfie" in the audience -- which set a Twitter record -- was somewhat improvised.

Speaking at the 4A’s Transformation event here, Todd Pendleton, chief marketing officer of Samsung, said the photo was supposed to be with DeGeneres and one other actor: “The ‘selfie’ was planned with Ellen and Meryl [Streep],” he said. “There was a risk in there; maybe the picture is blurry.” Instead of just DeGeneres and Streep, the picture includes a number of big-name actors, which created a major cultural/marketing phenomenon.

“There is no way you can plan that,” he said. “To me, it was less about what phone that picture was taken with.” To spin that further the next morning, Pendleton decided Samsung should make a $3 million donation for each of the times the picture was re-tweeted to DeGeneres’ chosen charities.

Pendleton says most of Samsung’s advertising/sponsorship executions come from improvised video efforts -- including those made with Jay-Z, when it came to releasing his album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” as well as TV commercials starting LeBron James, which have included his kids.

“We create a sandbox to play in,” says Pendleton. “They are almost like home movies. Everything feels real and authentic -- because it is.”
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