FOR Samsung Malaysia Electronics Sdn Bhd, there is great potential in being associated with the lucrative world of sports. Corporate marketing director Bryan Lee believes it is a great avenue for leveraging a brand and creating heightened brand awareness.
The company is currently the sponsor of a local reality television show called Super Soccer Star (SSS), which is aimed at potentially creating the next Malaysian soccer star.
“The show serves as a platform to increase the exposure for football in Malaysia and help boost brand awareness and customer loyalty to Samsung,” Lee tells StarBizWeek.
“Soccer is a well-loved sport in Malaysia. Samsung’s participation in the show and being associated with Chelsea FC helps expose the brand within the Malaysian market,” he adds.
SSS was created by British entertainment giant Galleon Entertainment plc and is the first and only reality TV programme that is turning Malaysian youths’ dreams of playing in the English Premier League (EPL) into reality.
Galleon teamed up with local producer Nafalia Corp Sdn Bhd to bring the 13-episode show to Malaysia after a successful run in China last year.
On the local front, the SSS tryout, aimed at young talents aged between 13 and 16 years, attracted thousands of applicants. About 300 boys were selected for the official audition when the show aired on Jan 7.
However, only 20 of them will compete in the ensuing episodes to win the coveted prize.
The weekly elimination rounds will see the final four players visiting Chelsea FC’s Training Academy in London, where they will be assessed by the club’s coaching staff.
The grand prize winner out of the four finalists will be selected through a combination of public votes and a panel of judges. He will then return to London for an official tryout in front of sports coaches, talent scouts and agents at Chelsea FC’s training academy.
Lee believes that the show also serves as a great avenue to nurture local talents.
“I think there is not enough exposure and opportunities given to the local talents. It also gives local football a platform to improve. Who knows? One day there could be an EPL star from Malaysia.”
Lee says these days it is imperative for companies to come up with unique and engaging ways to communicate its brand to the public. Super Soccer Star, he believes, fulfils that criterion.
“The show is beyond your normal type of advertising. It’s branded entertainment, where you tie up entertainment together with the brand.”
Lee says the Samsung brand is highlighted quite extensively in the show. In it, viewers will see the boys calling home using a Samsung mobile phone, watching and evaluating the way they play on a Samsung television or getting drinks out of a Samsung fridge.
“We actually show the Samsung brand in its practical usage. It is not your typical form of advertising and is a method that has proven to be very successful in other countries.”
“Today, we can’t just put up an advert and that’s it. We need to be very engaging with our customers,” he says, adding that season two of SSS could be a possibility.
“Once the first season is over, we will evaluate how it (the show) did. If we feel that it was a success, we will consider a second season. This being the first programme of its kind, we hope it will pave the way for more.”
For competitive reasons, Lee declines to comment how much the company is investing in the show. He does say, however, that business so far (in 2009) has been good.
“January and February have been good months for us. The test would be the next few months,” he says.
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