Nancy Mumby-Welke of Gratiot County, Michigan hears a loud bang outside her rural home.
When she investigates what caused the sound, there, lying on her lawn, is a satellite-esque spacecraft. But where had it come from? Upon the strange craft are logos for Raven Industries, a high-altitude balloon manufacturer, ‘Space Selfie’ logos and that of Samsung.
It’s an unfortunate, but funny, headline grabber for a campaign by the electronics giant involving space and selfies, two very in vogue topics, still…
The Big Idea
In a nutshell, Samsung offered people the chance to have their selfie projected into space.
Consumers and celebrities’ faces were projected into ‘space’ via a S10+ 5G device attached to the aforementioned satellite and high-altitude balloon.
It wasn’t quite space, but high enough that the black of space could be seen along with the curvature of Earth.
What They Did
Samsung SpaceSelfie launched with an announcement that the brand was to partner with Cara Delevingne to be the first SpaceSelfie, revealed at a live event at the new Samsung KX in London.
A website gave consumers the chance to upload their own selfies to be featured in space aboard the spacecraft attached to the helium balloon suspended 65,000ft above Earth. Two apps designed for the project allowed selfies to be sent into space and then a photo of that selfie on the device in space could then be sent back to the consumer.
Samsung also recruited a few other celebrities from various locations around the globe to get in on the act from Zlatan to Thanaerng (a Thai actress) amongst others.
It’s hard to differentiate between phones. All take good photos, all have decent batteries, all have nice screens and are all roughly the same dimensions.
Lobbing something into space feels like a sure-fire way to differentiate right?
Until you see that Huawei launched its P30 Series with a focus on the moon and Google has been bigging up the astrophotography abilities of the new Pixel 4.
Associating a phone with space is, marketing-wise, doing very little to differentiate Samsung from the competition.
It would be easy to just say this is lacking in creativity and originality, but there are positives.
People still get excited by selfies and influencers and this campaign does both of those really well with it being simple to get involved as a consumer.
It will have hit a lot of timelines and generated excitement amongst social media users, but would you buy a phone off the back of it?
There’s a lot wrong with a campaign like this from a sustainability point-of-view and it being advertising for the sake of advertising, with no real objectives being fulfilled. It feels like someone senior at Samsung bought into the idea after a speculative BBH pitch and the rest was history.
The crash landing was probably out of its control, but the fact that’s overshadowed the good feeling of the campaign has been and unfortunate development.
Eradicating some of the elements that make this such a frivolous campaign could have helped increase a sense of longevity and positivity for the brand.
The influencers are a bit obvious, Zlatan in particular epitomises the egotistical elements of SpaceSelfie. The fact the campaign crash landed within days wasn’t ideal given the media traction that got over the campaign itself.
The campaign revolving around selfies blocking out amazing views of the Earth is pretty frivolous too.
I’m not completely against a fun campaign for the sake of some nice headlines and social shares.
However, if you’re going to launch something into space nowadays it needs to do some good to make up for the fact you’re throwing metal into orbit (or on a balloon in this case).