Inside Samsung TV’s ‘More Wow Than Ever’ Campaign; Similarities To ‘Shape Of Water’ Film

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In our recent campaign to launch Samsung’s flagship TV, the Neo QLED 8K, the brief itself was pretty challenging in that Samsung’s flagship TV was to be positioned as ‘The Best TV’ from ‘all’ the aspects, and this was a tectonic shift from the typical tech-focused, feature-centric thinking pervasive in the TV industry. Adding to the challenge was the client’s request to not directly use the word ‘best’ in the creative comms. 

Rather than create a predictable, feature-laden concept, our goal was to tap into the hearts and minds of the viewer and produce something as brilliant as the product itself, that people would not only remember but genuinely enjoy. Samsung also clearly wanted to focus on forging connections with viewers through the creative. Through several collaborative discussions with the client since the inception of the concept, and across production and post-production to final execution, we focused every stage of development to deliver a campaign that was equal parts playful, absurd, and so far-flung from what anyone would expect when marketing a TV. 

This is how to ‘WOW.’ Concept Initially, our ideas focused on a celebrity stunned by humankind’s greatest inventions, which would build up to today’s finest technology: The Neo QLED 8K. But as these conversations developed, we agreed that this wouldn’t tap into the emotive power we and the client sought. Given Samsung’s successful track record of working with animals such as ostriches and spiders, it struck us that a non-human star could be the solution. What better animal to connect to the internet generation than a cat? We all know that, whether cat parents or not, cats as creatures are tricky to please, aloof, moody and independent—perfectly epitomised in the global meme superstardom of internet cats. 

With this in mind, we started exploring the feline mind and what would please a cat, which led us down a preposterous and playful path that allowed us to escalate our narrative and dial up the visual wow factor. It proved challenging to cast the right cat—a vital element of the campaign and the show’s star; this process took some time. While we might be used to watching cat videos in our free time, the agency had to watch many, many of them! To encapsulate the story in the cat, we had to ensure that every campaign element was rooted in real insights, and we even wrote strategy papers on ‘Why Cats are Premium.’ Not only did the cat need to have a proper look at Samsung and us, but we had to factor in the pets’ relationships with their owners, whether they had had any advertising, TV, or film experience, and the dynamic with our other main character Chris, who would lead our feline, Bebo, on his wild and wonderful journey to discovering his ‘WOW.’ Production We knew we needed to work with a director who had advertising under his belt to bring this story to life. 

Rodrigo Saavedra’s vast experience across advertising, winning several awards, creativity, eye for detail and collaborative approach made him the ideal choice. That isn’t to say that we didn’t come up against challenges. For example, the scene where Chris is suspended underwater requires real innovation, but Saavedra is more than up to the challenge. This scene wasn’t even shot underwater—no talent got wet. 

Similarly to Guillermo del Toro in The Shape of Water, this scene used a ‘Dry for Wet’ technique, suspending Chris in the air and playing with light and composition to give the effect of being underwater. The laser suit scene was a real highlight for the team. We were shooting in a studio in Bulgaria and shot this scene on our last day on location. It had been tiring, so the energy was starting to flag. The moment Chris began to dance to the music Rodrigo played and cast his laser beams around, the campaign came together, and everyone on set laughed. It was one of those distinct, unexpected moments where you know you’re creating something extraordinary, and it reinforced that our confidence in the work was well-placed. 

At the heart of the campaign was Samsung’s desire to showcase the Neo QLED 8K TV and its astonishing capabilities as the true protagonist of the narrative, and balancing this with the dynamic between cat and owner was a real challenge. The film is an escalating crescendo of activities, which made the product reveal the most challenging element to land: How do we top the absurd and fanciful scenes we have already shot to wow Bebo? This was ultimately achieved through post-production, which went through rounds of edits to capture the cat’s feelings, in his goosebumps and the closeup of his widening, awestruck eyes reflecting the product name. Our goal for this scene wasn’t just to showcase the Samsung Neo QLED 8K but to capture the immersive, quality experience that the TV offers, with a bespoke song produced by Antfood from the perspective of Bebo, leaving the viewer on a genuine high note. Learnings 

Throughout this process, we did everything it took to go all out and give the client confidence that our concept would work. Deviating from ‘standard’ technology creative tropes was a calculated risk. We completely believed in the idea, so we never gave up and always found ways to pivot our ideas into something emotive and captivating. 

The collaborative element was a real high point for the agency—we found a true partnership with the client, director, the Samsung team supporting in real-time from a different time zone as we live-streamed the shoot, and the team on set with us in Bulgaria, even in negative two degree weather! Sometimes landing the most straightforward ideas can be the toughest to achieve, especially when making it relevant to everyone, cat parent or not.

Who can’t relate to a hard-to-please cat? We had a clear vision which drove every decision we made. Everything we do at BBH Singapore is to stand out from the crowd and deliver something different to what people expect. I don’t think any of us expected how many meetings about cats would take, especially when we were going back and forth with the client on which meow gave the best ‘WOW’.
Source: Campaign Asia, Youtube

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