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Samsung hopes to shed Galaxy brand's ‘ajeossi phone’ reputation

Tech giant looks to win hearts of younger iPhone fans

By Jo He-rim

Published : April 9, 2024 - 16:26

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Samsung Electronics' short film series, “S24 Hours Movie Series,” promoting the Galaxy S24 series and starring Netflix star Go Min-si and League of Legend esports champion Faker, had accumulated 10 million views on YouTube by Sunday, just a month after its release on March 7. (Samsung Electronics) Samsung Electronics' short film series, “S24 Hours Movie Series,” promoting the Galaxy S24 series and starring Netflix star Go Min-si and League of Legend esports champion Faker, had accumulated 10 million views on YouTube by Sunday, just a month after its release on March 7. (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Electronics is striving to shed the reputation of its flagship Galaxy smartphones as "ajeossi" phones among teens and users in their 20s, with short films starring popular TV celebrities.

An "ajeossi" is an older married man or an uncle in Korean, but in this context, it implies a sense of being "old" or "out of style."

The world's largest smartphone maker by shipment said its short film series, “S24 Hours Movie Series,” starring actor Go Min-si and the League of Legends esports champion Faker, reached 10 million views on YouTube on Sunday, in just a month since the release of the series on March 7. Go is an actor who starred in the Netflix original series "Sweet Home 2," popular among younger viewers.

Including the number of views from other social media platforms like Instagram and streaming services, the total surpasses 50 million views, the company said.

The smartphone giant released the short movie series as the company struggles to win over the hearts of young users, losing ground to its archrival Apple.

Samsung's Galaxy is the dominant smartphone brand in South Korea, accounting for 7 out of 10 adult smartphone users, according to a Gallup survey from last year.

But Apple's iPhone is more popular among younger smartphone users aged between 18 to 29. In the survey released in July 2023, 65 percent of younger users said they used an iPhone, double the number of those who used Samsung devices at 32 percent.

Samsung aims to attract younger users through the short film series by advertising the latest artificial intelligence features in its Galaxy S24 series in a "more fun and friendlier."

"The short film advertisement is an effective marketing strategy to target the young," an industry official said.

The movie series, directed by Han Jun-hee, the director of the hit Netflix series "D.P.," consists of four short episodes, each 6 minutes in length. The films promote Samsung's Galaxy S24 series, which adopted the company's first on-device artificial intelligence features.

The key AI features of the Galaxy S24 series, including Live Translate, Nightography and Circle to Search, play crucial roles in solving the challenges Go's character faces in each of the episodes.

Last year, Samsung also presented a short film to promote its Galaxy S23 series. The short film, titled "Faith," was shot using the smartphone and directed by Na Hong-jin, an award-winning director and screenwriter, widely known for his movie "The Wailing" (2016).

Apple also employs the short film marketing strategy to increase its popularity among young consumers. Its campaign dubbed "Shot on iPhone" aimed to showcase the photo and video capabilities of the device.

Last year, the smartphone juggernaut collaborated with K-pop girl group NewJeans to advertise its iPhone 14 Pro, shooting a music video with the device. The music video for the song "ETA," which is 3 minutes and 30 seconds long, gained more than 10 million views on YouTube in just four days of its release.

Samsung also collaborated with the global K-pop sensation BTS last year.

As Samsung strives to win over more young users, it may even change the name of its smartphone series, Galaxy, or come up with a whole new brand image, industry sources say.

Lee Young-hee, the Samsung Electronics president leading the Global Marketing Center, raised such possibilities at this year's CES 2024 tech show in January.

"There are so many lineups in the Galaxy brand, and I am aware that some expect to see a new name when we introduce an innovative change," Lee had said, adding that such change must happen slowly.

In its latest effort, Samsung also recently opened a flagship retail store in Gangnam, branding it a "playground for millennials and Gen Z.” The store is less than a kilometer away from Apple Gangnam, Apple's fifth retail store in the country.