The moment I heard the news that Samsung would be giving away one million downloads of Jay-Z's latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, five days before it could be purchased in stores, I could practically hear its marketers plotting. The plot was officially on when they said the magic word- app.
In general, apps are not built with your privacy in mind, as they're data
goldmines for the marketers who are into that sort of thing. Samsung's
something-for-nothing Magna Carta
app would obviously be too good to be true; Magna Carta Holy Grail
would really be Samsung's holy
grail of consumer information.
Not only did this app give Samsung all the typical access they normally
would receive when consumers downloaded an app, such as permission to read the
phone’s identity, the e-mail addresses and social-media user names connected to
the phone, but it also demanded permission to post on Facebook and Twitter
accounts. Thus, consumers were forced to spam their social networks with
posts about the album and the supposedly benevolent smartphone company that was
hooking them up.
However, it turned out that dangling Jay-Z wasn't enough to mesmerize music
fans into loving Samsung. People actually read
the terms and said no thanks. Samsung's limelight quickly soured into an
embarrassingly desperate marketing ploy.
Ironically, as Samsung's Magna Carta ploy unraveled, they announced the
sales estimates due to "Galaxy fatigue." In other words, its
marketing is quitting on them; consumers are less responsive despite increasing
their 2012 expenditure by 58 percent to over $4.3 billion globally.
Interestingly, extremely popular music festivals Bonnaroo and Cochella, are taking
a completely different approach, balking
at major sponsors and a large revenues because they believe brands in this
space would detract from the overall fan experience. As Matt Frampton of
Pitchfork Media put it, marketers lacking authenticity can become that
"embarrassing uncle trying to fit into a world where he doesn't
This July, uncle Samsung definitely crashed the party.