Samsung Launches Biggest U.S. Campaign to Date for Galaxy S III

Lightens Up on Apple Fan Boys, Offers Solutions for Consumer Problems

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Samsung Galaxy S III is getting a massive ad campaign.
Samsung Galaxy S III is getting a massive ad campaign.

If any Americans haven't yet heard about the new Galaxy S III phone, chances are that will change this week.

That's because Samsung is unleashing the biggest-ever marketing campaign in Samsung Mobile USA's history for the phone's launch, beginning this week. Although Samsung declined to provide specifics on spending on the phone, it's believed that the marketing budget for the next few months will more than double what the company spent on all Galaxy-branded products in the U.S. in 2011.

Samsung spent $142 million in measured media on Galaxy products in 2011, according to Kantar Media, up from $79 million in 2010. The company spent $64 million just on the Galaxy S II, the new phone's predecessor, in 2011. Samsung spent $263 million on measured media in 2011, down 3.1% from 2010.

Additional marketing spend will likely come from the carriers -- AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular -- as they run their own promotional efforts around the phone.

As the budget indicates, Samsung is making a huge bet on the Galaxy S III, touting the phone as having capabilities that no other smartphone has. The Galaxy S III provides consumers with a platform that offers content and services that "engage and better [consumers'] lives," said Samsung CMO Todd Pendleton. He added that the phone does "things no other smartphone can do," such as share pictures, music and videos by tapping two Galaxy S III phones together; it also allows users to watch HD videos while texting.

The campaign entails what Brian Wallace, VP-strategic marketing at Samsung, calls "never been done before" executions, such as an out-of -home effort that allows Galaxy S III users to download free content -- such as music or e-books -- directly to their phones via 50 kiosks and some 40,000 posters in the U.S., going up over the next few weeks.

A big component of the campaign will be the use of movie theaters, as Samsung wanted to be where consumers typically frequent in the summertime and "make sure Samsung was there in an innovative and never been done before way," said Mr. Wallace. Rather than just run ads before a film, Samsung will run 3-D games using Kinect-like technology that the company had to develop specifically for the execution. Essentially, sensors will be installed in 55 theaters that will detect audience movements which will control a game on the screen.

Samsung will also run a 3-D short in some 2,000 theaters, using the fanboy characters from the "next big thing" campaign -- done by 72andSunny for the Galaxy S II late last year.

Denuo, part of Publicis Groupe and Samsung's digital agency of record, worked on the campaign, Starcom USA handled media, and although TV is not a central part of the campaign, a TV spot from 72andSunny will air as well. Whereas the previous "next big thing" work focused on poking fun at Apple fanboys, Mr. Pendleton said Samsung will focus on how the new Galaxy benefits users and makes life easier.

Samsung will also offer on Galaxy phones what Mr. Wallace called the world's first mobile-only magazine, dubbed Beacon. "We looked around and there's no central channel for all things mobile," so Samsung saw an opportunity to provide and aggregate mobile content for Galaxy users for free, said Mr. Wallace.

The Galaxy S III launched overseas late last month, and preorders in May topped 9 million, according to Korea Economic Daily. Preorders for the U.S. began earlier this month for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

Apparently, the demand is already overwhelming the carries in the U.S., as T-Mobile this week said that it does not have enough devices at-the-ready for a complete nationwide launch June 21, and is expected to have the phone available everywhere June 27. Sprint is facing similar issues.

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