We have long believed that reaching consumers through sports makes good business sense, and last night’s Samsung commercial proved us right. During half-time of the NBA Finals a three minute commercial which looked more like a short film aired featuring rapper Jay-Z. It showed various big name producers in rap music working with Jay-Z as he gets ready to release his new album. However, it’s not until the end of the three minutes that you realize the commercial is really for Samsung. Take a look:

If you were like me, I stopped watching after two minutes and by the time the hashtag for song and Samsung appeared at the end of the commercial, I actually missed it. I read in the social media space that it was really a Samsung commercial. 

I’m not sure what the commercial was supposed to inspire or persuade me to do. I’m a bit interested in the next Jay-Z album, which is set to be released the 4th of July, but that’s about it. I’m not going to buy a Samsung phone, and it didn’t even peak my interest in the product. However, I wouldn’t switch smart phones for access to a music artist, so while I like Jay-Z, I’m not fanatical about his music enough to buy a different phone. In this case, Samsung may not be talking to me.

For a music lover, this may be just the thing. For those looking to get new phones deciding on a platform is important. Samsung did a great job in showing why they should be considered.

This is a big deal for Samsung. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Samsung has purchased 1 million copies of Jay-Z’s coming album, entitled “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” slated for release July 4, and plans to give them to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users for free – 72 hours ahead of the release. The users are to receive the music through an app they’ll receive later this month. (Recipients won’t be able to share it until the official release date.)


Samsung paid $5 apiece for the albums, according to a person familiar with the matter. It wasn’t immediately clear if Nielsen SoundScan will count Samsung’s purchases in its sales tallies.

This seems to be in response to Apple’s release of iTunes Radio, and while the response is appropriate, I’m not sure if it’s effective–yet. Jay-Z fans would have purchased the album regardless, and I’m not sure someone will want to buy a Samsung phone just to get a copy of an album many get through underground channels anyways. It’s an expensive approach, and it remains to be seen if it will pay off. What is effective is the ginormous brand awareness Samsung has created. That was genius.

There’s no doubt that Jay-Z is clearly the big winner in this. His marketing appeal has driven home the importance of corporations to get into strategic partnerships in the music industry. Even smarter was airing it during the NBA Finals game. Many NBA fans follow his music so it was good to push to that audience when they’re already focused on the television set. This further proves how integral sports has become to the entertainment industry. Sports fans are focused and engaged–two critical elements for this type of advertisement.

I have no doubt will be seeing more of these “short-film-commercials” during key sporting events. It’s smart marketing, and sports fans are engaged and connected. 

I think Jay-Z’s numbers will look good. He already has a $5 milliion head start and he hasn’t sold one album yet! What the numbers look like for Samsung remain to be seen.

What do you think?

Your Jersey Girlfriend,

~Angela Davis