Samsung Sitcom – content marketing at its best or cringeworthy product placement?

In a change from its usual marketing efforts, Samsung has developed its own sitcom called “The Best Future” which will be released in October and air on YouTube and social media. The idea behind the show is to promote the company as a young, fun and creative place where people in between their 20s and 30s would enjoy working.
While a sitcom sounds like an unusual approach, when we look back at the long history of content marketing, we can see that this sort of brand marketing has been a tried-and-tested element in the marketer’s toolbox for years. It’s very common for well-known brands to create entertaining content targeted to their customer outside of the usual channels. For example…

GI Joe

When toy makers resurrected the 60s action figure G.I. Joe in 1982, they added a comic book about the backstory of the hero’s fight against a Cobra Command. These extras were a total revolution in the toy industry!

Chipotle

One of the latest examples of creative content marketing from Chipotle, a chain of Mexican-style grill restaurants, took it to the next level with its own comedy series called “Farmed and Dangerous” in February 2014.

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Lego

Ever heard about The LEGO Movie? Well, it’s just another famous example of successful content marketing. The film producers developed an adventure for their young target audience by creating a piece of content which includes an emotive storyline and gives an insight into the LEGO world – which is exactly why LEGO reached so many people!

What to marketers think?

Since we were curious about other people’s opinion on the sitcom we scoured the Axonn offices and had a chat with a few colleagues from different teams. Here’s what they think:

“Samsung is just practising a special kind of marketing to promote itself. But they’re not really known for TV productions, which is why I’m sceptical. I don’t expect this to be good.”- Billy Maddocks, Director of Data Insights and Implementation

“Well, I expect people to find this ridiculous. I think it’s cringeworthy and I wouldn’t even watch a British version of that sitcom.” – Allaina Abraham, Content Optimisation Specialist

“The terms Samsung and sitcom don’t really fit together for me. However, I think this strategy can work and they can reach their target audience because young people can identify with those famous Korean stars. Samsung worked well on what they did so far and I’m really curious about the result” – Janaka Abeywardhana, Chief Technology Officer

“This project sounds unique and interesting and it could be successful if it goes viral. If they really present Samsung as an inspiring and enjoyable workplace – the sitcom could work. I also think I’m going to watch it as soon as it airs on Social Media and Youtube because it sounds interesting.” – Billy Haynes, Producer/ Editor – Video Team

So will it work?

Is Samsung really doing intelligent and innovative marketing or just embarrassing product placement?

It might seem original or a step forward in content marketing, but we think the show feels rather embarrassing and pointless. We can’t imagine people seriously being impressed and influenced in the way Samsung expects them to be.

Of course the brand follows a clear strategy by producing this sitcom: a young cast with a famous Korean pop-singer, music and dance and the hope to engage the Korean youth. But we question if this will be a successful strategy long-term.

However, it could be that the Korean sitcom only seems unusual and bizarre to us because of our European tastes. We are still looking forward to see the impact of the sitcom as it’s definitely something different that we haven’t seen before.

After all creating unique content is always a good idea!

 

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