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NEW YORK ( -- Samsung Electronics kicked off its first global brand campaign, a 30-country effort with spending estimated at $400 million.
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The long-anticipated campaign, created by True North Communications' FCB Worldwide, New York, is set to break Saturday with the first of several planned 30-second TV spots debuting on CNN, VH1, ESPN, TNT and NBC during the NBA playoff games.

Samsung suffers from a lack of brand awareness, and in North America it is overshadowed by top-tier Sony Electronics and, to some extent, Matsushita Electric Corp. of America's Panasonic brand.

The opening spot for the Korean electronics giant, which will be followed by a half dozen more that will roll out by mid-June, is meant to be a "hello to the marketplace," Kelly O'Dea, president of FCB Worldwide, said. "It's really meant to be

the first greeting from Samsung to the marketplace globally. The advertising is, by design, meant to appeal to markets around the world."

People sprouting from foreheads
The inaugural spot, titled "Anthem," was shot in the U.K. and features a multi-ethnic cast using various Samsung products such as a flat-screen TV monitor, MP3 player and watch phone. With the assistance of computer-generated graphics, the fanciful and highly stylized spot also shows people sprouting from a person's forehead.

The voice-over for the unusual spot articulates Samsung's core brand positioning: "There is a world where you see, hear and feel things like never before, where design awakens all your senses. This is the world of Samsung, and everyone's invited." The brand's tagline, "DigitALL, Everyone's Invited," appears at the end of the spot and will continue throughout the FCB campaign. Interpublic Group of Cos.' AG Worldwide, New York, and Samsung Electronics created the tag that's now more than a year old.

Mr. O'Dea said the tagline and FCB's global strategy for Samsung emphasizes inclusiveness, relying on three core propositions: Samsung's products are for everyone, not just the elite, are easy to use, and have a "wow" factor.

'Round-the-world phenomenon'
A pool of creative executions, including a substantial online and print program, will debut in a staggered fashion first in the U.S. and soon after around the world. The campaign, Mr. O'Dea said, "is completely integrated from top to bottom, across regions, across borders and across product lines. ... Believe me, this is a total round-the-world phenomenon here."

The effort will align closely with forthcoming event sponsorships both on a global and regional basis, as well as public relations and promotional activities. The $400 million budget includes media and all marketing activities, but excludes expenses related to retail co-operative advertising and merchandising programs. A outdoor advertising program is also planned.

International team effort
Delivering an integrated campaign with this kind of scope was no easy feat, Mr. O'Dea said. He and his FCB team have worked nonstop in a "mad dash" since just after last Christmas, when the agency won the account, he said. Tom Rost, worldwide creative director at FCB, and Sean Healey, worldwide account director, are principals on account.

At least 30 Samsung personnel, both in Seoul and in Samsung Electronics North America's Ridgefield Park, N.J., base, were involved in the day-to-day mechanics of the account. Cheil Communications in Ridgefield Park, an in-house marketing unit, provided strategic counsel to FCB and helped the agency navigate Samsung's culture and business.

An Internet ad program is set to roll out in the next eight to 12 weeks, as Samsung seeds its campaign well in advance of the fourth-quarter sales season. The print plan begins shortly and will target newsweeklies and other entertainment publications for a broader appeal while also going after the more savvy technology buyer.

"We are hoping that the rather unique form of the television advertising, which is how we're going to drive awareness broadly, will be seen as different from the other consumer electronics competitors," Mr. O'Dea said. "I think people are understanding that we are signaling a new wave of technology being part of people's lives around the world."

Samsung executives could not be reached for comment for this report.

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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