Behind the work: Samsung wrestles with 'Matrix' details

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When "the matrix: Reloaded" opens in cinemas this week, moviegoers can expect to see Samsung playing a major supporting role. The electronics' giant has ponied up around $100 million to promote itself to a wired young audience through the Warner Bros. release.

Samsung's deal to become global marketing partner on the movie ensured that it not only took over from Nokia in the original film, but it also gained exclusive footage to use in its ad campaign. (The release's other sponsors are General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac, Heineken and Coca-Cola Co.'s Powerade.)

Charged with executing Samsung's global ad campaign, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York, had the unenviable job of playing liaison between its Korean client and the Hollywood studio.

"[Producer] Joel Silver is a strong, opinionated producer, notorious for squashing people at a moment's notice. The Korean Samsung people also had strong opinions about what's right for them," said Luke Bailey, senior VP-global creative director, FCB. "The Matrix world is so involving and dramatic that we had to be careful that Samsung didn't suffocate."

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Warner Bros. was incredibly secretive throughout the filming process. The FCB team was told only one of them could read the script and that would happen behind a locked door with a security guard out front. The creative team's solution was to hire the movie's assistant director, James McTeigue, to direct the campaign itself. In order to use the green scrolling Matrix codes that play an integral part of the movie, FCB had to deal with Bouf-the French production company that owned the copyright.

The time factor was another problem. The FCB team had a month and a half to complete the production.

Adding to the ticking clock were the logistics. Mr. Bailey said, "We are in Los Angeles, but we're dealing with New York and then later in the day Korea and then at midnight we'd deal with France."

FCB Global Creative Director Jim Mochnsky added: "It was an amazing experience that we completed in an unbelievable amount of time. It was the energy of the project that kept you going forward."

The spots feature four new Samsung products-an LCD TV and plasma TV, a limited edition "Matrix" phone and a new mass-market camera phone. The spots for Samsung's new TV products broke May 9, the cellphone spots are due to air roughly two weeks after the movie's May 15 debut.

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