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Advertisements: Battle between stars

July 01, 2008 11:33 IST
The silent ad begins with a shot of the back of Aamir Khan's head. His ears are plugged, presumably listening to music. Bobbing his head to the beat of the music, the actor suddenly turns around startled - as if expecting the sound were coming from behind him. He subtly exclaims and smiles to himself.

As the camera pans to focus on his face, his eyes begin to dart around the room accompanied by varying expressions of confusion, surprise, delight and finally whole-hearted laughter. He then places Samsung's newly launched Beat450 in front of the camera and bursts out "unbelievable".

The 30-second TVC closes with a voice-over of the actor urging the audience to try the new phone. This is followed by a shot of Samsung's recently launched tagline: Next is what?

The latest ad not only marks Samsung's serious foray into the music phone segment, but also establishes its very first brand ambassador - Aamir Khan. Moreover, the ad campaign reinforces the new brand positioning of Samsung Mobiles tagline - "Next is What?"

In addition to the above-mention initiatives, earlier this year the phone maker launched five new phones - the SGH-i 450, SGH-G800, i550, D-880 and J210. Clearly, these launches are an attempt on Samsung's part to compete with rival offerings.

Rival Nokia continues to dominate the market with a massive 60 per cent share, followed by Sony Ericsson with 8 to 10 per cent.

But there's a silver lining - in January 2008, Samsung's market share increased from 5.7 to 7 per cent, convincingly dislodging Motorola from the third spot (according to industry estimates).

Still, why a new campaign now and why Aamir? "Earlier our communication was disjointed, varying from model to model. The common factor was missing.  Now by focusing on a common tagline across brands we hope to be consistent," says

Samir Miglani, associate vice-president, client servicing, Cheil Communications - Samsung's creative agency.

Regarding the choice of celebrity, Samsung Telecommunications India head Sunil Dutt explains, "The Samsung brand stands for qualities of innovation, style and excellence in performance. These are the qualities that Aamir stands for as well.

Moreover, his appeal cuts across all segments of consumers and as a brand that is looking towards appealing to discerning consumers across the entire consumer spectrum."

The brief to Cheil Communications - which has been Samsung's creative partner for five years, was to break the clutter of music phone advertisements.

"When we got the brief, we had a couple of options before us, including one that emphasised the music qualities of the phone in a 3-D animation set up, but we went with a silent film as it highlights the experience of listening to music, thus making it more powerful and appealing to the audience," says Miglani.

While the concept of a silent film appears to be a winner, the agency gives credit to Aamir Khan's acting prowess for setting the ad apart.

Miglani says, "So brilliant is Khan's acting that the entire ad was shot in one take. He was actually listening to the Beat450 while we were shooting and reacting appropriately."

The film, which broke in the second week of June, took about 10 days to make and airs on all major sports, news, music, regional and entertainment channels. The TVC will have an 8-10 week run, following which Samsung intends to release a brand film that will naturally have a longer shelf life.

Also, the 360-degree campaign includes outdoor advertisements with the actor at display booths in shopping malls, music stores and traffic points for consumers along with live demonstrations.

However, the radio medium will be left out as it would be hard to convey the 3-D surround sound quality of the phone. Currently, an internet communication is being developed.

Interestingly, the ad also takes the Shahrukh Khan versus Aamir Khan rivalry to another level. Previously, the two stars battled over Pepsi and Coke, then Toyota and Hyundai, and now Nokia and Samsung. So will 2008 belong to SRK or Aamir?

Who did what

Client: Samsung Telecommunications India
Agency: Cheil Communications
Client servicing: Samir Miglani and Saurabh Tara
Creative: Prathap Suthan, Viral Pande and Geetu Kashyap

Byravee Iyer in Mumbai
Source: