Aliens have arrived and they have challenged Earth to a game of football. It gets worse, if Earth loses, the aliens will destroy the planet.
This is the fantastic premise behind a branded entertainment campaign by Samsung, which aims to showcase its range of Galaxy (geddit? Space aliens) phones and devices.
The “fantasy-inspired multi-layered global marketing campaign" Galaxy 11 launched with a number of stunts and teaser adverts last year and has been building the content and the storylines ever since.
The campaign has incorporated placing alien symbols and cryptic messages at football games in the UK, US, Brazil, Italy and Germany, Samsung also hired actors to dress as mysterious robed figures and appear at games. The brand then began to roll out TVCs teasing the players on the team.
The latest installment is a 4 minute cinematic film ‘Galaxy 11: The Beginning’ which unveils the full team of footballers selected to play the aliens and save the world.
The film features ex-footballer and coach Franz Beckenbauer and his team of 13 players, a team made up of the world’s best including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Mario Gotze and Iker Casillas, to name a few.
The film storyline follows the recruitment of the players who have been “unexpectedly” selected to join the Galaxy 11 team by demonstrating their unique skills and abilities off the football field. The film also provides brief glimpses of Samsung Galaxy devices.
The film kicks the campaign into a new phase as the team begins training for the match – which Beckenbauer says “will be unlike anything we have ever witnessed before and I expect that the form of football we encounter will be far different than what we know here on Earth.”
The campaign will see Samsung using the players combined 200 million social media fans to share content and drive interest and awareness of its products.
“Galaxy 11 is a global, multi-platform marketing campaign that tells the story of 13 top-class football players from around the world that will attempt to save the planet from alien domination in a “winner takes all” match on a virtual football pitch. Revealed in a series of chapters in 2014, the campaign will be brought to life and offer engagement opportunities across Samsung Galaxy devices, online platforms and social media channels.”
Samsung said the aim of the campaign is to engage football fans with the Samsung brand and its products through a series of “socially-driven and interactive initiatives”.
Samsung appears to have launched what may be one of the most expensive branded entertainment projects ever, with its Galaxy 11 campaign.
It is not only epic in the sheer scale and weight of the campaign, but also in the massive goals it is setting itself.
It’s a bit like watching a major accident, I can’t look away even though I am sure that it is going to really, really suck.
The film itself is kind of woeful. Overblown, overly dramatic and just plain ridiculous. I cannot begin to speculate how much securing the talent alone would have cost, let alone the special effects that will go into this.
It’s too much, too over the top and I’m too cynical to believe that after so much hype, teasing and generally dramatic behavior, the match is going to be a let down and kind of lame. Unless the Earth team lose and the Aliens win… that would make it interesting.
However what I do like about this campaign is the ambition. This is a major global campaign which places transmedia storytelling and branded entertainment at the centre, with a healthy dose of social media employed for distribution and ongoing engagement.
Not many brands have the chutzpah and, let’s be honest, the budgets to even attempt such a campaign with the scale and grandeur of Galaxy 11.
Don’t be fooled by the cringeworthy fantasy of this campaign, Samsung mean business. Pulling together a huge line-up of international players does not come cheap and this appears to be a major push to establish its Galaxy brand on a global scale.
Samsung is clearly looking to cash in on the this year’s FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Brazil in June. This major global event goes someway to explaining the concept and makes the “Football will save the planet” tagline slightly less ridiculous.
We can presume the intergalactic match will take place during the event and Samsung will offer a host of interactive experiences with players through the cup. Given Samsung is a huge supporter of football including Chelsea FC, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and it also now sponsors Brazil’s Football Federation, the football link is clear.
With this in mind this epic campaign makes a little more sense. This campaign is on par with the extravanganza campaigns we've come to expect from Nike and Adidas. It will no doubt sit comfortably alongside their efforts when the World Cup rolls around. In creating this sort of epic global campaign Samsung is attempting to cement the brand as a leading global brand. It is putting the brand up the top of the brand list with Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, this about playing with the big kids and a clear message to Apple about just who rules the roost.
The Galaxy is a major major product line for Samsung. It is the great white hope. The brand has seen meteoric growth overtaking Apple for sales in a number of markets. As Apple becomes more and more mainstream and loses some of its shine, Samsung has successfully picked up more and more customers with its Galaxy range.
With Blackberry and Nokia almost completely out of the race it’s down to just two players, iPhone and Galaxy. This is the race Samsung is looking to win and in a year when football will be everywhere, Samsung have made sure the Galaxy brand will find the spotlight in a major way.
Strategically this is a smart campaign, it’s in your face and hard to ignore and even if you’re not into football, you can’t miss this.
However what you can miss is the fact that it is Samsung, the products appear briefly but are not overt, it’s a little blink and you’ll miss it. It’s fascinating given the huge amount of investment that the brand and the logo have not saturated this piece of film. It’s too be commended, although I worry whether the level of awareness of the brand will be lost under the many other elements of this campaign.
I like to think there’s also a bit of hidden messaging going on here too, that Samsung and the Galaxy 11 are trying to save the world from being destroyed by Apple devices. Given the fantasy element of this campaign, I may not be far off the mark.
The quality of the effects are good, Samsung have invested in a good looking campaign, it’s just a shame about the clichéd storyline. However what this project lacks in artistry it more than makes up for in strategy, ambition and sheer determination.
Samsung have created an immense global project which is a fabulous display of the power of transmedia storytelling and branded entertainment. It might not be the most original but its ambition is impressive.
Brand: Samsung Galaxy
Creative Companies: R/GA, Cheil Worldwide