Samsung New Zealand has tugged on Kiwi heartstrings in a big way, and none is as emotive as this headline that says “Get Samsung on your iPhone”. For iPhone users, that would most certainly incite a strong reaction. For Tribal Aotearoa, DDB Group’s digital experience agency, it was a slick ‘Trojan Horse’ move that was ingenious in its execution and shrewd in its strategy.
The Samsung iTest campaign was a cheeky infiltration into Apple’s much-loved user interface by getting iPhone users to download the Samsung One UI interface for a test run. With stealth as the operative word, the agencies hit a home run with a high-impact and low-cost campaign. “The campaign soft launched with one social media ad that said ‘Compare apples with androids’. We put about $250 behind that post; someone took a screenshot and sent it to MacRumours…and suddenly we were on blogs all over the internet,” says Brett Colliver, creative director at DDB Group Aotearoa.
The campaign took on a life of its own, and even after a year, it is still gaining traction with consumers, registering 14 million downloads at the latest count – and still counting. “It is an incredibly long tail for a digital campaign, most certainly the longest I’ve been involved with. In terms of sales metrics, Samsung New Zealand has reported a 10% increase in people switching from iPhone to Samsung,” says Brett.
The results are impressive, not to mention the four Lions the team took home at Cannes this year for the campaign. Samsung iTest won a Gold Lion for consumer goods under Media; a Bronze Lion for innovative use of community under Social Influencer; and another two Bronze Lions for use of mobile and experience design under Direct.
It convinced not just the judges at Cannes, but consumers as well – and of course, iPhone users. “iTest wasn’t simply about showing people what the Samsung UI looks like, it was about them getting to feel what it’s like. iTest had to go way deeper beyond the surface in order to create an experience that is totally immersive, and just as importantly, imperceptible to users,” says Brett. “If it didn’t work seamlessly, the illusion would be broken and people wouldn’t be able to feel how intuitive the Samsung UI actually is.”
Going viral was a key validation, thanks to the many fervent tech geeks with their insatiable appetite for watching and posting Youtube videos of new product reviews and test runs. Brett shares that it’s impossible to know how many millions more have seen Samsung iTest as a result of the hundreds of deep-dive videos that Youtubers have made on their behalf.
What originally started as a campaign for New Zealand is now being adapted for other markets. “In terms of building and scaling, other markets picking up iTest was an interesting way for it to scale. Samsung Nordic (Denmark, Sweden, Finland) wanted to reappropriate it for their markets, so we translated various sections of it, and filmed a version of the camera tutorial using an influencer from Sweden that was relevant to their market. Samsung Australia also got in touch immediately to promote and use it in their market,” shares James Blair, managing director at Tribal Aotearoa.
That’s not all. Samsung iTest has now been updated with a new operating system (UI4.1), which includes a host of new features. It’s also being rolled out across global markets such as the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, India, and others. “That version isn’t called iTest; it’s called Try Galaxy, so a few things have changed, but it’s a great success story for what started out as a single-market campaign,” says James.
For Tribal Aotearoa, it’s a journey of continual discovery with Samsung New Zealand that sees them collaborating on projects across the brand’s product verticals. Next on the table is an opportunity to explore ideas for Samsung Connect Home, which enables home owners to automate and control a range of Samsung home appliances and devices remotely.
Adds James, “They are a global tech giant, but we want to make it clear to Kiwis that Samsung is very much like a local brand that is part of the community and is committed to New Zealand.”