Samsung is throwing its hat into the Olympics advertising ring with a web-only video starring David Beckham, to promote the Galaxy Note.
The video, created by Cheil USA, sees Mr. Beckham walk onto a "set" with a wall of drums and a bunch of soccer balls. On the tablet-phone, a director sketches out which drums and in what order he wants Beckham to shoot. Then, Mr. Beckham starts kicking, creating a cacophony of noises that eventually end up being a drum-version of 'Ode to Joy.'
"We wanted to cut through the glut of Olympic ad clutter," said Younghee Lee, SVP and head of global marketing at Samsung Wireless. The video will be released in multiple online venues, including on Mr. Beckham's Facebook fan page. "We felt we could engage more people across the globe by deviating from a traditional television or print campaign," she said.
Cheil USA's brief was simple enough in theory: Create a video promoting the Galaxy Note that featured the Olympics and Mr. Beckham (who was only going to be available for about two hours).
But "this brief had the challenge of having lots of different ingredients," said Lars Bastholm, chief creative officer at Cheil USA. "So the question was how do we make the equation add up?"
There was one thing Mr. Bastholm didn't want Mr. Beckham to do: act. "That's not what [footballers] do, they play sports, and that's what they are good at," he said. Mr. Beckham's strength as a player is his precise kicking, so that's what the team at Cheil decided to focus on.
Initially, the idea was to have Mr. Beckham paint the Olympic rings with his perfectly-placed kicks. But that would be "too messy," so the agency decided to go with sound. 'Ode to Joy' was chosen because the symphony has plenty of ties with the games, having been used for multiple opening ceremonies and commercials associated with the games. "You have to have a song people recognize," said Mr. Bastholm.
Of course, Mr. Beckham - precise kicker though he may be - doesn't actually drum out the song. That was created in post production by Endless Noise, who mixed in actual studio noises with the song to give the sound some authenticity.
"At the end of the day, when you're working with Olympics advertising, you have to make something entertaining and watchable," said Mr. Bastholm. Since it's online-only, the video also lends itself to a repeated viewing, since you can't really tell what is going on until you're at least halfway in. "We have built in multiple views," said Mr. Bastholm.
Jason Zada, the man behind one of last year's most talked-about viral efforts "Take This Lollipop," directed the commercial. He might have been more involved in the final film, since the Cheil team wanted him to also play the part of the director. When time constraints forced them to hire someone else, Mr. Bastholm said they tried to cast for a "cooler version" of Mr. Zada.