Samsung Challenges Customers and Delivers Reward, then Creates Ad

Samsung staredownBuilding a brand can be difficult. Sometimes companies get lucky and create something that aids their branding efforts immensely. Most of the time, however, branding is executed by a talented team with a plan, and a lot of branding gets done during advertising. Outside of a brick-and-mortar store or a social media presence, advertising is where consumers will be associating your business and products with your brand. Samsung has known this for quite some time and they recently released a great new ad which businesses and agencies can learn from.

Will Stare for Phone (for One Hour)

In Switzerland, as Jim Edwards reports yesterday afternoon on the Business Insider, Samsung and Swisscom put together a “charming ‘stare down’ contest in the railroad station at Zurich.” The contest was relatively simple.

One feature of Samsung’s new phone is that it can detect when you’re looking at it. So Samsung wanted to show this feature off and get some press as well. How better to take advantage of that feature than with a staring contest. That’s exactly what they did in the middle of the railroad station.

Anyone could come up to the Samsung booth and simply had to stare at the phone for sixty minutes. I’m not sure if they were allowed to blink or not, but they certainly weren’t allowed to look away for any reason.

However, there was “one hilarious catch” as Alan Ng writes about for Product Reviews. After a certain period of time contestants had to deal with distractions that became increasingly more insane. At one point a hot dog vendor sets his coat on fire and a dirt bike drives into a table. Either of the stories linked to above can get you to the video, and it’s worth watching! Contestants who lost were given a discount equivalent to the time they did manage to stare at the phone, so it wasn’t an all-or-nothing competition.

Customers as Content (and Good Content!)

As social media, YouTube, and smartphones become widespread and used by millions of people around the world, businesses large and small have powerful branding tools in their hands right now. All it takes is some creativity.

This latest ad from Samsung is one example of the creativity that is needed for your branding efforts to be a success. It also shows a great strategy for getting content for advertising and branding efforts: your customers and the public in general. Challenging customers and people in the public to create, overcome, work together, or demonstrate something with or about your product can go a long way.

People have so many ways to express themselves now and with the right challenge or request, they will have the incentive to create something awesome or put on a performance that could jumpstart your branding efforts.

You can make these challenges intricate (like Samsung) or simple, single platform or cross-platform. Even something as simple as challenging fans to create something on Vine and rewarding the best submissions can give your brand plenty of exposure it never had, and all you have to do is think of the idea that will get people into action! You’ll never know how successful they could be unless you give it a shot.

What do you think of Samsung’s latest ad?


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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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