Some of the celebrities that end up endorsing Samsung devices don’t necessarily do it because they’re paid, but because the South Korean company has set up a neat operation that produces genuine Samsung mobile device fans among this particular target group. They then actually end up promoting those devices whether they have to or not, a Fast Company report reveals. Through a White Glove program intermediary, celebrities apparently host parties that are also attended by Samsung personnel who give out free, personalized Android devices to the other guests. In time, those celebrities who end up liking the product, are asked to host similar promotional parties of their own, during which Samsung will give free handsets to new guests, also celebrities themselves.
“The White Glove program is a cross between the social marketing of Tupperware parties (minus the pressure to buy something), the house calls of Mormon missionaries (minus the pressure to give up smoking), and the persistence of Green Eggs and Ham–but for gadgets,” the publication writes. “A friendly, clean-cut rep shows up to dinner at your friend’s house one night, teaches you all about the “product,” and lets you take it home and decide for yourself. At no cost.”
One of Samsung’s guests was Dana Brunetti, president of the company that created The Social Network movie and the highly praised House of Cards Netflix series. He, and others, were offered a free Galaxy S3 phone during a party hosted at the home of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. “Brunetti politely accepted the gift and sat through the Samsung rep’s tutorial while watching the other celebrities, whose facial expressions echoed his own reaction, Yeah, I’m going back to the iPhone as soon as dinner’s over,” Fast Company writes.
Brunetti then accepted to use the Galaxy S3 side by side with the iPhone for a month, and chose the Samsung device at the end of the month. Later, he switched the iPad for a Galaxy Tab and hosted his own Samsung party, where other celebrities were converted to Samsung. “People love things that are free, particularly celebrities,” Brunetti said. “They’re the last people that need something free, but it’s smart. They wouldn’t buy it otherwise.”
Other Samsung converts include Jay Z, who ended up releasing his Magna Carta Holy Grail album to Samsung device owners, but also Martha Stewart.
By offering celebrities free, customized handsets, complete with dedicated support (including special 800 support numbers), White Glove’s marketing efforts apparently aim to bring the Samsung experience to celebrities, hoping they’ll end up using those devices instead of the iPhone, and make them cool by association. “When Beyoncé whips out her phone on the street in Brooklyn, Korea’s largest business conglomerate wants the paparazzi to see that she’s playing Words With Friends on a Samsung,” Fast Company writes. After all, Samsung is knowing for pulling out all the stops when it comes to marketing and advertising its mobile products.