To help raise awareness of the entire small touch-screen PC category, Samsung and the Woo Agency set out to target two different groups of consumers with online videos. Samsung, which has also used traditional advertising for the Q1, has found that when people can see the way the small but fully functional computer works, they have an "ah-ha" moment. (The Samsung Q1 looks like a Sony PSP or eReader, although a bit larger than both, and has a qwerty keyboard split on either side of the touchscreen.)
Samsung also chose to create viral videos instead of TV ads because of a smaller marketing budget. The marketer declined to disclose spending on the project.
Mobile professionals targeted
The first group of consumers targeted will be mobile professionals, for whom Samsung created comedy videos that go online next week (at TheMoPros.com) to make key points about the Q1's uniqueness.
Three different videos feature mobile professionals with wacky made-up job titles such as a private fireman, a carousel booking agent and brother's brother. The professionals -- co-created for Samson and Woo by Bob Odenkirk, an actor, comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" writer -- use the Q1 Ultra to convince people they need to hire siblings, reserve a particular carousel horse or employ an assistant to put out fires. But the videos also show off real-world uses for the mini-PCs, such as running up a flight of stairs -- something you can't easily do with a laptop -- and useful features such as GPS, e-mail, instant messaging and video conferencing.
"When you target mobile professionals, [the ads are] really expected to show 'Here's what a medical professional does with the device' or 'Here's what a salesperson does.' ... It's just so boring," said Bret Berg, senior product marketing manager at Samsung. "We really wanted ideas that haven't been done over and over again."
Next on the list: DJs
The second group Samsung and Woo plan to reach is professional and hobbyist DJs. They worked with well-known DJ Cut Chemist to create an online video game that lets players put together their own club experience, using the Q1 Ultra as the guiding tool. The Q1 showcased in the game is a specific model that comes pre-loaded with DJ software created by Trinity Audio. (A website, mydjfantasy.com, and the game are also slated to launch next week.)
"DJs are a huge market," said Valerie Moizel, executive creative director at Woo. "Cut Chemist brings credibility to that audience. ... We're not trying to replicate the full home studio, but it's an exciting product for that demo and hits them in an authentic way."
One of the problems Samsung has faced with the Q1 is an overall lack of awareness for the product category. Since the emergence of the ultra-mobile PC category two years ago, the devices have struggled to find an audience. The original general consumer target has largely given way to business use, in fact. Retail, sales, law enforcement and hospitality industries have embraced the form much more quickly than the general public.
While Samsung was one of the original manufacturers in Microsoft and Intel's "Project Origami" to create a small touch-screen PC, other makers now include Asus, Fujitsu and OQO.
Is there a need?
"It's a bit of a challenge because most of the [consumer] demographics they're targeting already have laptops and iPods and phones," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. "The question is where do they fit into a consumer's mobile hierarchy? And that's been the problem."
He said the ultra-mobile PC makers need to convince consumers that their devices can be PC replacements, and so far that hasn't happened.
Mr. Berg acknowledged the lack of awareness and that many of the younger consumers targeted, for instance, already use notebook computers for things the Q1 can do. However, he also said that once those young consumers see and use the Q1 Ultra, they call it the "new bling."
"They're all into laptop computers, they have their cellphones, and hopefully soon they're going to have a Samsung Q1," he said.