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Samsung plans biggest ever US marketing blitz for Galaxy S

Says will match carriers' flagship advertising spend with Galaxy S campaign

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 1 July, 2010

READ MORE: US | Samsung | Advertising | Handset | Android

Samsung has got serious about open smartphones at last, and made a splash with the launch of its multi-model Galaxy S Android family. It plans to capitalize on the initial enthusiasm with its biggest ever US marketing campaign, aiming to reduce the Android lead of HTC and Motorola in north America.

In the US market, the strongest for iPhone and Android, the carriers are making their choices and promising significant marketing support for their preferred devices. Samsung has already scored important points by signing up all four national US cellcos, cleverly creating a different variation on Galaxy S for each one (Verizon Droid Fascinate, AT&T Captivate, Sprint's WiMAX version Epic, and T-Mobile Vibrant). But it needs to ensure that these handsets get plenty of visibility alongside other Android superphones with gigahertz processors and huge displays, such as Motorola Droid X at Verizon and HTC Desire/Incredible/EVO.


Samsung's CEO Choi Gee-Sung is to fly to the US next week for a rare series of meetings with the four main cellcos and other handset channels, indicating how badly the Korean giant wants to make a US splash with what Choi calls Samsung's "answer to iPhone".

And the vendor is promising the largest marketing campaign in the history of its north America mobile division, the unit's CMO Paul Golden told Dow Jones Newswires. He said the budget would be comparable to the heavy advertising spend a major US carrier would typically make on a flagship device launch. This suggests a nine-figure sum - Verizon Wireless and Motorola are believed to have spent $100m promoting the first Droid during the last holiday season.

Samsung is likely to need to spend more of its own cash to reach that figure than Motorola, as it does not enjoy the same close strategic relationship with the US operators, despite stealing the handset market lead in the country from Motorola last year. And although it has gone some way to offering each carrier a differentiated product, they will not commit as much support as to a true exclusive.

Samsung's lead has been achieved with broad distribution, strong CDMA focus and a huge range of models, but has largely focused on the midrange and low end, which has not led to massive ad campaigns or strategic development alliances from the carriers.

Samsung hopes to change that with Galaxy S and its successors, but in the meantime it will plead its cause with dollars - and it has greater resources than most of its rivals to spend big.

"We wanted to launch the Galaxy S as our flagship phone but stick with our DNA of focusing on the carrier relationship," said Omar Khan, chief strategy officer for Samsung Telecommunications America, at the flashy launch of the handset.

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