Samsung to challenge with Pan-European product launches

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LONDON -- South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co is to mount its first pan-European advertising this year to promote technological innovations that it hopes will pitch it into Europe's top league of consumer electronics companies.

Bozell Worldwide - appointed as agency of record for Europe in January - is working on the launch of Samsung's Digital Video Disc (DVD), scheduled for May or June, and the introduction this fall of a new premium-priced television range that is claimed to be technologically advanced. Samsung is keeping the TV's specific benefits under wraps for the time being. The combined budget is $10m-$15m.

Samsung's DVD, which will launch initially into the lead markets of Germany, France and the Benelux countries before rolling out across Europe, will be a flagship product for the European subsidiary. Its arrival at the same time as the first wave of DVDs will be important for the credibility of the Samsung brand, says European Marketing Communications Manager Keith Lucas.

The aim is that the new TV range, for its part, will set Samsung head to head against industry leaders such as Philips, Panasonic and Sony, "rather than battling it out in the second division where Samsung has traditionally found itself," Lucas says.

"Samsung doesn't have the stature to sell at a premium price, but this television will leap-frog a lot of the competition. The company is very ambitious and wants to be in the top two or three electronics companies (in Europe). This product will do it."

The TV range will also launch in a few lead markets, yet to be decided, before moving out into the rest of Europe.

In another move to boost its profile as a technological innovator, Samsung will next week show at the Cebit high technology show in Hanover, Germany, its concept for an Internet TV, which could give viewers access to TV channels via a modem.

A proposed $20m budget for a brand-building advertising push across Europe - also through Bozell - has still not been approved by Korean management. Meanwhile, Cheil Communications, the Korean agency used by Samsung as an in-house resource, and the New York-based Arnell Group issued a statement last week confirming their joint appointment at the end of last year to develop Samsung's global branding strategy.

Their brief is to "unify Samsung's marketing communications messages throughout the world while adapting local expressions in key regions." They began in January. Bozell's lead office for Samsung in Europe is Delaney Fletcher Bozell London.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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