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Hi, TV! Samsung’s 2012 Spring Showcase Reaches Out to New Media Consumers
By: Melody Weister
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Last week I had the distinct pleasure of attending Samsung Electronics America’s exclusive 2012 Product Showcase, in coordination with the renowned technology social network gdgt, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. While reserving an earlier portion of the event solely for members of the press, Samsung deviated from the traditional routine of most manufacturers by opening the latter portion of their event up to consumers. 100 tickets were made available through the gdgt blog, and gdgt co-founder Peter Rojas was in attendance, along with SEA Director of Public Relations Ethan Rasiel. Not only was the technology being showcased remarkable, I found myself impressed by the way in which Samsung made an effort to connect with and receive feedback from their technology-savvy consumers.

From the beginning of the event, we were encouraged to use our smartphones as often as possible, to tweet and update our Facebook statuses, and to utilize our social networking capabilities to reach out to other consumers and make them aware of what we were seeing and doing and how we felt about it. This kind of encouragement showed that Samsung has not only evolved with the changing face of media, but has also learned that reaching out solely to the press can only get them so far. They put the power in the hands of the consumers with this event, acknowledging the power that every individual possesses to affect buying patterns in others.

The technology displayed at the event was fascinating as well — not only has Samsung recognized a need to evolve with the times, they’ve also embraced the app world, showing their support for the most popular and utilized apps, as well as updating their own apps to function with their new series of smart TVs. These new televisions feature Samsung’s Smart Hub, which has been a staple on all Samsung smartphones for years now, and also such popular applications as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Skype, which works in conjunction with the built-in camera and microphone that are standard for the televisions in this new line. If the app capability wasn’t impressive enough, the newly developed IR Blaster and accompanying remote control eliminate the need for two separate remotes, connecting to and controlling the user’s cable box either through simple touch, voice control (either via the TV microphone, or through a microphone built into the remote control itself), or gesture control. It’s a much-needed change to the television landscape, which is often overlooked by younger generations with the advent of smartphones and tablets.

As employees demonstrated each new feature at private demo station, they all seemed genuinely interested in consumer feedback. When I tried on a pair of 3D glasses to view the 3D features of another line of televisions, the employee in charge of that station excitedly told me, “Wait until the plane takes off; the nose comes right out at you!” Not only that, but as my boyfriend and I lingered back from another station, an employee came up to us and led us on a guided tour of all of the stations, answering all of our questions and again demonstrating a sincere concern about our thoughts and feedback on the products being displayed.

At the end of the event, Mr. Rasiel noticed the small group of people who had accompanied me as we gathered our coats, and came over to us to ask what we had thought about not only the products, but also the event itself. However, he didn't simply ask one question and run off; rather, he stayed and chatted with our little group, asking us about our favorite TV programs and what we could recommend for new shows to watch, along with sharing some of his. (On the off chance that he reads this: Thank you for recommending Awake!) For me that interaction sealed my appreciation of the showcase; I had the realization that my thoughts and input were actually being taken into account by a major manufacturer.

In a world where social media is gaining more and more influence, giving a face to the massive idea of Samsung Electronics was the best marketing decision the company could have made. They treated their consumers with the same respect as the other members of the press, an action that surely will pay off well for them in the long run. Kudos to Samsung and to gdgt for all their efforts.

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About the Author
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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