Samsung Ramps Up Web Efforts in New Campaign

Samsung is launching a new global campaign that will see the South Korean electronics giant slating its largest-ever online advertising budget.

Designed by Samsung’s Seoul-based in-house agency, Cheil Communications, and New York-based Foote, Cone & Belding, the global, $200 million integrated “DigitAll: Everyone’s Invited” campaign aims to position the company as a leader in delivering a wide variety of exciting, cutting-edge and reasonably priced products.

In addition to television, print, retail and outdoor advertising that begins Thursday — and which includes a redesigned 65-foot-tall electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square — Samsung also is boosting its online ad spending.

Through the effort, the company will have front-page, prime sponsorship on 50 major Web sites, including Fortune.com, Forbes.com, BusinessWeek.com, and other business publications. Targeting consumers, the buy also includes CNN.com and EW.com. Samsung estimates the buy entails 300 million impressions per month.

“It’s critical that I own that front-page, above-the-fold experience,” said Peter Weedfald, vice president of strategic marketing and new media for Samsung North America. “That way, we’re up here standing alongside the publisher’s brand … and it makes a statement about Samsung.”

While exact spending wasn’t broken out on the online campaign, sources close to Samsung place it in the double-digit millions — a significant change from the “negligible” online spending in previous years.

Overall, the company is expected to drop $70 million on U.S. advertising, and $900 million on global marketing efforts during the coming year — a 21 percent increase from 2001. That figure also includes Samsung’s extensive sponsorship of this year’s Winter Olympic Games, where it unveiled the “DigitAll: everyone’s invited” tagline in TV spots.

The ads are expected to deliver both branding messages as part of Samsung’s years-old “DigitAll Experience” positioning, as well as specific product deals.

“DigitAll” is meant to signify the vast assortment of electronic entertainment products; it’s a slight departure from the term’s use in past campaigns, which hinged more on providing digital technology to the masses, said Michael Moon, senior vice president of global brand strategy at Cheil.

Ads in the new campaign will use various alterations of the tagline, such as “DigitAll Passion,” “DigitAll Escape,” and “DigitAll Wow.” Products spotlighted within these ads include wireless handheld communication devices, like color LCD mobile phones; entertainment products such as portable DVD players and digital televisions; and what can only be called “futuristic” products — such as the company’s Internet refrigerator.

“Our ‘DigitAll’ campaign depicts how exciting and accessible digital products really are, and how they’ve become part of our daily lives,” said Eric Kim, executive vice president of global marketing operations for Samsung Electronics.

The campaign comes amid a resurgence for the company, which has been dogged for years as an also-ran to Japan’s Sony Corp. but is now in many circles (especially in the cell phone and digital TV market) considered as hip, trendy and as cutting-edge as its rival. With the Korean economy again ballooning — it’s expected to grow about 5 percent this year, continuing the rebound from 1997’s regional financial crisis — Samsung says it’s keen to flex its marketing muscles and strike while the iron is hot.

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