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To boldly go where no SD card has gone before.

spock and Samsung SD card

Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end. -Spock

Samsung have commissioned the Viral Factory to drop 100 paper airplanes from a weather balloon which will be taken to the edge of space. Aboard each paper airplane will be a Samsung SD card, which will contain media that has been uploaded by the public via the Project Space Planes Web site. Article link news.cnet.com

The idea behind the campaign is to prove how strong Samsung SD cards are, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones to find an airplanes, you can go the projectspaceplanes.com/ask website and Samsung will get you in touch with whoever uploaded the media on your SD card in order to break the record for the longest paper airplane flight.

After a quick look at the Viral Factory’s website, you start to get the idea that these guys are all about thinking outside the square and pushing the boundaries. A quick look at the campaign they launched for Diesel and you start to see where these limits and boundaries are stretched.

The Setup

The website is setup in a blog style, containing videos to keep the viewer enticed and engaged with every step of the journey, there is also a tool for anyone from the globe to upload their media in the chance to get on one of the SD cards. There are links to Tumbler and Twitter that are updated with any major changes and up to date news, both services allowing comments to be posted. The combinations of design style and online tools that are used have all the essential ingredients to create a social community network.

Engagement and Awareness

The videos are really interesting to watch, one in particular of when they send a weather balloon to the edge of space with a camera attached, had me hooked and engaged. The viewer actually starts to see the authenticity of the campaign and it began to conjure up thoughts in my head about the possibilities of my message reaching space and then to someone else. I was reminiscing of being a child and the memories of writing a letter that would be delivered to God by the astronauts on their next mission. AWESOME!!! By engaging in the experience and accessing child hood memories I can guarantee you that if I was browsing in an electronics store or searching for an SD card, the moment I were to lay eyes on the Samsung variety it would bring back those thoughts and prompt me to investigate the product further. It would help it stand out from the abundance of memory cards already on the market.

The Journey

What I find interesting about some viral campaigns is that quite often when it is a campaign that anticipates the behaviour of the viewer to recurringly check in for updates which then involves the viewer to be part of a journey, the actual product and brand in question takes a back seat and the focus becomes about the story. The perception of the product and brand is shifted to become a sponsor of the story. From this sponsorship type scenario the viewer may develop more trust within the brand due to not having a product forced down their throat. Even when you hop onto the project space-planes website you can see there is minimal to no advertising of the SD cards. This lends itself to the pull media theory expressed by Chaffey and Smith (Chaffey & Smith 2008, p450) which discusses the nature of the web and how it sometimes differentiates from traditional offline push media.

Web 2.0 can be sometimes used in a way to build up product recognition, loyalty and trust, although Samsung are saying that this campaign is to prove how tough their SD cards are, I don’t believe this to be the main driver for the campaign. Don’t get me wrong, it is no simple task by any means to send an item to the edge of space and plan for it to come back un-damaged, there are so many variables to factor. What I believe to be at work in this situation is the rapid spread of product awareness throughout the competitive marketplace. The question is, will it create enough awareness to generate sales? Considering the new Samsung mobile is called the Galaxy maybe we are seeing the small picture of something a lot bigger. One thing that’s for sure is that this flamboyant campaign has all the creative ingredients to make for one tasty adventure.

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One thought on “To boldly go where no SD card has gone before.

  1. What an interesting take on viral marketing!

    I wonder if Samsung is planning on generating more publicity pre or post launch. The only issue I have with this campaign is the link back to the product proposition of an SD card. Will Samsung be able to sell more units by claiming that their product can survive a fall from space? It wouldn’t make me more interested in buying a Samsung SD card, I would have thought that reliability and price would be the key purchasing criteria for most consumers. That being said, what have they got to lose? The advantage of this type of campaign is that it shouldn’t make too much of a dint in the company’s overall marketing budget!

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