Magazine article Marketing

Tapping into the Network

Magazine article Marketing

Tapping into the Network

Article excerpt

Will Samsung Mobile's music-themed tie-in with Bebo corner the youth market?

The strategic partnership signed by Samsung Mobile and Bebo last week marks the mobile company's most significant engagement with social networking to date. It is also the biggest-ever UK ad collaboration for AOL-owned Bebo.

The agreement covers branded content for the Bebo music homepage, a Samsung Bebo music profile and an online music programme produced by Endemol. Called Beat, this will feature band interviews, music news and exclusive live performances.

The activity launches this week, with the first of eight live monthly music events, which are the first attempt by Bebo to take its brand offline.

The move echoes activity by Bebo's social-networking rival, MySpace, which has been running Secret Show gigs for its users since 2006. It has also been taking a 'Live! in the UK' bus to music festivals, helping to reinforce the association of MySpace with music among 16- to 24-year olds.

Twitter, a relative newcomer to the social-networking scene, has also spread beyond the web with a global charity event called 'Twestival'.

Agencies claim the social networks' efforts to create an offline spark with music fans should be welcomed, and that brands can benefit from tie-ups with such 'social' events.

'Brands are moving away from display ads and trying to engage with people on a deeper level,' says Robin Grant, managing director of social media agency We Are Social. 'If it is done in the right way, people can come away with a stronger association with a brand from going to a gig, than from in-your-face advertising.'

However, despite Samsung's efforts to promote its brand with young music fans, observers claim it could risk losing credibility among its target audience with an uninspiring sponsorship deal.

Mikah Martin-Cruz, marketing director of Samsung UK, insists that the deal is 'not just a sponsorship, it is a partnership' that is 'testament to how seriously we take social networking and the need to pioneer new ways of engaging our core audiences'.

Nonetheless, Jack Horner, creative director at music agency FRUKT, doubts whether Samsung can pull this off. 'Bebo has got the audience and Samsung has got the Beat mobiles, but there is no clear perspective on what Samsung or Bebo gets out of it,' he says. …

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