The Samsung Galaxy S8 Launch was a success. It went along without so much as a hiccup and the company unveiled the Gear 360 and a Bluetooth controller for the Gear VR along with their flagship. However, there was something decidedly different from the Galaxy Note 7 launch, not in the least that the phone on display had an insane 18.5:9 aspect ratio and almost no bezels.
If you had watched the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launch, it was more window dressing than substance. Samsung was still riding the success of the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge smartphones and the Note 7 looked great at the time. But the presentation was as cringe worthy as watching a stand-up comic bomb for the first time, literally. The presenters were throwing out lame pun after lame pun and were being greeted with dead silence. This time, however, the atmosphere was one of humility.
The presentation began with a montage of people using their Samsung smartphones to film intimate moments and talk to their loved ones etc, to the tune of “Across the Universe”. That montage set the stage for a more down to earth, less flashy and more intimate exchange with the audience. DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Mobile, said it had been a rough year for Samsung and they had learned from their mistakes. What followed was a simple presentation focusing on the S8 Infinity Display and the almost bezel-less display and rounded corners.
Then it was on to the Gear 360. Here Samsung took a page out of Oprah’s book and gave everyone a Gear 360 (You get a Gear 360! You get a Gear 360! Everyone gets a Gear 360!) and asked them to film a little of the launch event. The audience were asked to put the video on Facebook (free marketing for Samsung). While the move was brilliant from a marketing perspective, it was just awesome seeing all the audience members getting up off their seats and raising the Gear 360 to film the event. The moment brought to mind those marches where people hold up candles to show solidarity with a cause or parades to acknowledge an event in history.
The whole event was about restoring the bond between Samsung and its customers after the friction caused by the Note 7 debacle and the company’s brush with authorities and corruption charges in South Korea.
The best thing about the event, however, was the brilliant ad featuring the Gear VR.