Sunit Roy

18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss

We spoke to Ranjivjit Singh, chief marketing officer, Samsung India, about his new campaign #SamsungService. The film was published on YouTube on December 30, 2016.

Ever witnessed a television brand not talking about any impressive features - such as high-definition picture quality, surround sound audio system, movie theatre-like attributes - in its ad film? Have you ever seen an ad campaign for a television brand where the protagonist is a visually challenged person? Well, chances are you haven't!

18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss
For the first time, Samsung has dared to take an unconventional step, and stirred the emotional quotient of viewers, rather consumers, with its latest ad film '#SamsungService'. The home appliance major has launched an ad campaign as part of its initiative to take customer service to the doorsteps of consumers, in both urban and rural India. (In October last year, the television manufacturer launched 535 service vans to ensure timely service to customers in the remotest corners of the country.)
18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss
Speaking about the initiative, Ranjivjit Singh, chief marketing officer, Samsung India, says, "The endeavour for Samsung India has always been to cater to our customers, be it with innovative products or world-class service. We have further strengthened our service outreach and have got the widest reach of service centres with trained service engineers. This team will go to the deepest parts of the country to service the needs of our customers. With this, Samsung's reach will extend to customers in over 6,000 talukas across 29 states and seven union territories."

"The launch of the digital campaign is intended to highlight the uniqueness of the initiative and reiterate that #SamsungService cares. The idea was conceptualised based on understanding our customers and the need to continuously innovate, be it with product innovation or service standards. The new ad campaign is in sync with the brand values and our vision to cater to our customers," he adds.

The film is a captivating narrative that presents the audience with a storyline that delves into the life of visually challenged people. The new campaign showcases the journey of a Samsung service engineer, who undaunted by rough terrain, reaches a house in a remote hilly area to repair a television. The film ends with the visibly content engineer leaving the house as the voice over is played, "Rishtey nibhaney ke liye kabhi kabhi thoda door jaana padta hai. Isiliye Samsung service vans jaati hai desh ke kone kone tak" (At times one must venture a little further than usual for the sake of relationships. That's why Samsung service vans go to every corner of the country).

The four-minute-long film, which was released on December 30, has clocked in a whopping 18 million views so far just on YouTube. It was also unveiled across 50 television channels as a 90-second spot, and was supported by print media across various cities.

Conceptualised by Cheil India, the film has been directed by Anupam Mishra, and has been produced by Crazy Few Films. Dhruv Ghanekar has composed the music, while the song played in the background has been sung by Mohit Chauhan.

18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss
Sharing his thoughts on the film, Tarvinderjit Singh, executive creative director, Cheil India, says, "The motto of the campaign was to tell the consumers that 'Wherever you are, we'll take care of you'. That's why the film ends saying 'Rakhenge aapka khayal, kahin bhi'. Paradoxically, if someone buys soap or jewellery, there's hardly any connection between the brand or the customer. However, with a consumer durable brand, whenever one buys a product, that's actually a relationship building because one may interact with the brand further for repair or service. Thus, the commercial underlines Samsung's vision of creating long-lasting relationships with its consumers through timely service."

Talking about the challenges faced in shooting the film, he says, "We shot the film between Manali and Kullu during the month of December, where the temperature dropped below minus four degrees Celsius. The other big challenge was to work with children who are visually impaired. So they cannot understand our reactions, and they have never acted before. Therefore, we organised acting workshops. The lead girl, Dhrishti, learnt her bit for four to five days in Mumbai, while for the supporting cast a workshop was organised in Manali under an acting coach. But everything worked in our favour and added to the film."

Industry Speak

Not long ago, Samsung had on its hands a global product failure, which led to the withdrawal of its faulty smartphone Galaxy Note 7. Though the product being advertised in this film is Samsung's TV - and the after sales service thereof - we couldn't help but think that this was the company's effort at damage control.

The brand team told us, however, that this film has little to do with the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Here's what our reviewers said.

According to founder CEO, Brand-Comm, Sridhar Ramanujam, Samsung Galaxy Note might have been in the news for the wrong reasons and has become a major mobile phone player, but let's not forget that it's also one of the biggest consumer electronics majors globally and was the brand that unseated Sony from its position of pre-eminence.

"This commercial is not so much a response to the mobile phone problem as much it is an opportunity to establish service as an important business interest of the group. With the way products are being discounted, companies rightly see service as an important revenue stream," says Ramanujam.

18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss
18 million views in 6 days: Samsung's 4-minute film gathers digital moss
As far as the ad film is concerned, Ramanujam finds it quite interesting. He believes that the usage of visually impaired children is more of a creative strategy rather than part of an overall brand strategy.

"There is definitely an element of surprise and also fairly good performances. Yes, it is an eminently watchable commercial but my reservations are about all these commercials that flaunt their service and network and reach like Vodafone. The commercials are wonderful but what about the actual service? I would like to wait till I experience the actual service. Service is all about customer experience and not about advertising. Advertising - that's the easy part! Let's wait for the difficult part to be delivered," he says.

Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, says, "I don't believe this ad is trying to win back trust. It's made keeping a different purpose in mind. The effort towards getting that across (their service commitment) is quite good, albeit being far from reality (I would be surprised if any brand takes my service call so seriously and makes that kind of effort)."

"It seems to be a trend in the digital space that you add a differently-abled person in the film and you will garner emotion. This format is getting quite predictable. One can make the brand appear 'human' even without the inclusion of the same. On the bright side, the film is well shot and has a good soundtrack," he says.

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