SBJ/20011224/This Week's Issue

Samsung Games ad tab: $25M

Samsung is leveraging its worldwide Olympic sponsorship with a $25 million global ad campaign designed to position its cellular telephones as the best combination of form and function in the rapidly expanding cell handset market.

Breaking in the United States on Jan. 7 is a seven-week print and TV blitz from FCB, New York, that will grow to include seven languages and 54 countries. The campaign, which includes an NBC Olympics buy, links the grace and power of sports such as skiing to the speed and power of Samsung's cell phones.

Thus, the creative features skiing and snowboarding (filmed in Interlaken, Switzerland) and attempts to demonstrate the complexity of the sports while stressing Samsung brand attributes of simplicity and all-inclusiveness.

Korea-based Samsung trails market leader Nokia as well as Ericsson and Motorola in worldwide market share. Nokia, a brand unknown in the United States until the mid-1990s, broke through largely on the basis of making what was a utilitarian object (a telephone) a must-have fashion accessory just as cell phones were becoming ubiquitous.

Samsung's challenge is to find differentiation in a market that grows more crowded each day and to establish more of a name in the United States and other countries where its market share far exceeds its brand equity.

"Nokia is known as a fashionable product," said Do Kim, strategic brand manager for global marketing. "But we want consumers to know that our phones can do more things, like Web browsing at high speed, and that they are also good-looking. Samsung is performance and beauty linked together, like an Olympic skier."

Accordingly, the advertising will push leading-edge products such as a cell phone with a color screen.

The Korean conglomerate is a worldwide Olympic sponsor and has the designation as the Official Worldwide Wireless Telecommunications Equipment Partner of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the U.S. Olympic Committee. It will leverage its sponsorship by providing 20,000 phones to the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee and by sponsoring an Olympic hospitality center for fans, as well as for athletes and their families, that includes a technology display.

Samsung will give Olympic spectators a sample of its technology by allowing them to make free three-minute calls on its latest cell phones in and around Salt Lake City.

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