Samsung’s Mike Cornwell on How the Brand Made a Splash on YouTube

Mike Cornwell / November 2016

Samsung New Zealand has stayed relevant against fierce competition by continually pushing boundaries in the smartphone and VR markets. As these markets continuously grow more crowded, Samsung needed a way to get the attention of millennial Kiwis, so it turned to YouTube to promote the new Galaxy S7 in a unique, localised way. The campaign drove a best-in-class lift in ad recall and helped the brand achieve the #1 position in the smartphone market. Here, Mike Cornwell, director of marketing at Samsung New Zealand, explains how they pulled it off.

At Samsung, we like to say that people want experiences, not things. New Zealanders are time starved, working longer hours and looking for experiences, and they want technology to step up and to make their lives simpler and more enjoyable. We were excited to debut the new Galaxy S7 because it was all about not having to sacrifice technology whilst enjoying all of life’s simple and meaningful moments.

The difficulty in New Zealand is that 76% of Kiwis already have access to smartphones,1 which makes for a crowded, competitive market. Most consumers are happy with the phones they have, and getting them to notice new messages is a challenge.

So how would we stand out in a country where consumers are bombarded with thousands of ads a day? With the Galaxy S7 launch on the horizon, we turned to YouTube to tell a distinctive, local brand story and ultimately deliver a message that would resonate with young Kiwis: “Now you can.”

Developing a localized brand message

We knew Kiwis would identify with the freedom, inclusiveness, and openness of our brand, so we wanted to develop something that would capture that spirit and focus on the things that make life simple and enjoyable.

We partnered with Colenso BBDO to produce a short film that highlighted the new, water-resistant Galaxy S7. The creative featured smartphone owners participating in water sports and living their lives around water—both very familiar things to those living in New Zealand.

We wanted to get our message out to a youthful audience, so YouTube was a natural fit. And with YouTube, we weren’t constrained to the limits of a traditional TV spot—it gave us room to tell the story in just under two minutes. We used TrueView, YouTube’s skippable ads format, to test different durations of the ad throughout the campaign.

We also relied on YouTube to promote our new Gear VR headset. We partnered with Auckland City Limits to create a 360-degree live streaming experience, broadcasted from the main stages of the music festival to Gear VR owners around the world. The unprecedented event allowed fans of the Kiwi band The Naked and Famous to feel like they were on stage during the performance—and YouTube helped us expand the reach of the experience from 2,000 people to 200,000 engaged users within our target audience.

Reaching our target audience

We worked with our media partner, Starcom Worldwide, on optimisation for the campaign. Together we conducted a Brand Lift study that measured the campaign’s impact on our target audience, as well as identified optimisation opportunities on the media and creative sides. The analytics provided comprehensive, near real-time results that helped us understand where we could perform better and provided great insights for developing future content.

"On a completed view basis, YouTube was 3.4X more cost efficient, and 13.2% of all users watched the entire first execution."

Here’s how Sophia Quilian, business director at Starcom New Zealand, summed it up: “Being able to see topline demographic breakdowns and view-through rate (VTR) helped us determine optimisations for additional flights of the campaign from a targeting and duration point of view. On a completed view basis, YouTube was 3.4X more cost efficient, and 13.2% of all users watched the entire first execution.”

YouTube campaign drives lift in ad recall, high view-through rate
Our YouTube campaign saw high levels of engagement across the board. Despite our short film being nearly two minutes long, the average user watched 77% of it, resulting in a VTR of nearly 24%. The film also netted 500K views in under two months, with an impressive 24% lift in ad recall among our target audience of young New Zealanders. Best of all, Galaxy S7 sales massively exceeded our expectations, helping us achieve the #1 spot in the smartphone market—a position we’ve held for more consecutive months in 2016 than in any other year of our business.

Moving forward, we plan to continue leveraging YouTube, as it delivers a scale comparable to broadcast while enabling us to tell a more engaging brand story through long-form content. No other platform gives us this kind of reach and interactivity to distribute our content whilst remaining relevant to our audiences.

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