The start of 2007 brought with it an increase in interest in mobile music, owing mostly to the announcement of the iPhone.
But the other reason, notes Eric Villines, VP at MWW Group and account lead on Samsung, is that consumers are recognizing and unlocking the music capabilities on their current phones. Combine those two, and you have what Villines calls a perfect setting for the release of Samsung's UpStage music phone.
Samsung partnered with Sprint Nextel to bring UpStage to the marketplace. But before bringing it to market, it looked to generate excitement about the phone by bringing it to key media people, outlets, and bloggers for feedback. "This way we could listen to any key issues and concerns they might have," explains Villines. "It gave us a better understanding of what the first impression of the phone was before we brought it to the mainstream media and populace."
Samsung decided to target the media, influential bloggers, and consumers in March with a "secret" launch event on the eve of the CTIA Wireless convention in Orlando, FL, with a concert by indie band French Kicks. "It added an interesting and organic less corporate feel to the show and made the launch more accessible to the media," Villines says. Samsung and MWW Group also worked with Sprint on advanced meetings with technology and lifestyle media to help refine product messaging and "proactively" address possible reviewer criticisms.
Villines said the launch and prelaunch activities are credited with making UpStage Sprint's top-selling music phone since it launched in March. The effort also generated 190 media placements during the week the phone launched.
In the coming months, Samsung will launch a new version of UpStage.
PR TEAM: Samsung Telecommunications America (Dallas), Sprint Nextel (Overland Park, KS), and MWW Group (Dallas)
CAMPAIGN: Unveiling a Whole New Side to Music Phones: The UpStage by Samsung with Sprint Nextel
DURATION: February to April 2007
BUDGET: In excess of $100,000