The Next Big Thing

Samsung's Superbowl Commercial

This two-minute commercial was aired during the Super Bowl in 2013, and was intended to persuade viewers that the new Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone is ‘The Next Big Thing’. According to Wall Street Journal estimates, a single 30-second Super Bowl spot sells for about $3.8 million. Thus, that makes this ad worth about $15.2 million to CBS Corp's CBS network. However, it seems that they money was well spent as it was voted in the top 5 category of best super bowl ad by the viewers of the Super Bowl.  Although the ad is for the Samsung Galaxy brand, it is not heavily pushed and comes across as mere product placements in the humorous ad, with the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Note 10.1 making cameo appearances.

The commercial features 3 famous actors and 1 amazing athlete: Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Bob Odenkirk and LeBron James. Bob Odenkirk is the client who hires Rogen and Rudd to pitch ad ideas for the Samsung Galaxy. The humorous ad starts out with Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen conversing in a lobby about who is going to be the star spokesperson for the ad campaign, but the men soon realize that they are both there for the same part and gradually begin to verbally jab at one another with lines such as “I’ve never seen you so excited about something that isn’t food.” “Are you sure you aren’t here to see a guy named Sam Sung?”Soon after they enter the business room from the lobby, former NBA MVP and basketball star LeBron James comes in with an awesome one-liner, appearing on the Samsung Tablet that Bob Odenkirk is holding, to pitch his idea. The scene then fades out with Seth Rogen pitching more ideas to incorporate himself into the scenes that LeBron James is in.

They initially battle each other over who truly deserves the gig,  But then the commercial takes another meta turn, skewering the other commercials that have come before it, as they pitch ideas: Talking babies (E-trade), Asian rappers (Wonderful Pistachios) and sending a guy into the galaxy (Axe).

Target Audience and Positioning

The semiotics of this commercial revolves around significant cultural moments and relevant conversations while at the same time showcasing the innovation of the Samsung Galaxy. By using such widely known and loved figures, the company can appeal to a broad range of people. The target audience appears to be males who range from the ages of 16 to 35 who enjoy comedy movies and sports. By using Rudd and Rogen who are in many great comedy movies together, it enables the viewer to enjoy the commercial just as if they were watching one of the movies they like. Also by adding Lebron James to the mix, the commercial can target sports lovers as well. The fact that there are 4 extremely famous people in the ad is also used to assure the viewers that the product is of good quality.

Appeals, Tactics and Framework

While the innovativeness of the phone are mentioned in the ad that could help with rational appeal, such as Rogen being able to take a picture of Rudd and draw on it to retouch it, it mostly has emotional appeal. Repetition is also used to create a positive familiarity effect, with the actors saying ‘The Next Big Thing’ over 6 times. The ad also uses subtle jokes throughout this ad, and uses the humor that Samsung’s target audience enjoys in the movies they watch, in the commercial. Samsung also has their brand name appear numerous times.  All together, these factors thus make it a “cool” ad to the viewer by tapping into their cultural interest.

Affective tactics are used in order to evoke feelings or emotions and match those feelings with the brand, which is in this case, is making consumers feel that with its innovation and technology, Samsung’s products will always be ‘The Next Big Thing’. The humour used in the ad also helps increase liking and preference, which will lead to developing a cognitive argument for liking the brand and thus, behaviour in buying Samsung’s products.

Although the ad does not fall neatly into a specific executional framework, the one that best portrays it is demonstration, with Rogen and Rudd showing the product in action as mentioned previously.

Purchase Decision Making Process

While the advertisement does target all of the purchase decision-making processes, it focuses mainly on the stages of information search and evaluation of alternatives. Due to the memorability of the commercial, consumers will tend to have better brand recall and rate Samsung more favourably as compared to their competitors due to their familiarity and liking of the brand and its image.

Expanding the Campaign

In addition to its Superbowl commercial, Samsung also used social media by displaying “#thenextbigthing” for people to tweet. This trend exploded on twitter, which only served to benefit Samsung’s profits due to the advertising through social media. It also has a Facebook page and a Youtube channel, to provide information to consumers as well as to keep them engaged and entertained.

Samsung has already also followed this up with another commercial entitled ‘The Next Big Thing is Already Here’, spreading a consistent message across the entire campaign. The advertisement served to highlight the differences between the Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5 by highlighting the differences people cared about, using humour to take the edge of the competitive attack and did not give Apple any mention, but made sure that everyone knew it was talking about the iPhone 5. 

According to John Boiler, CEO of 72 and Sunny, which helped Samsung develop the ad, "The Next Big Thing" campaign has always been about ‘keeping a finger on the pulse of what is current and relevant to consumers’. By showcasing their innovation through integrating it with significant cultural moments and relevant conversations, it has kept and will continue to keep  consumers engaged and interested in the brand.

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