While Samsung has shot a few ads in New Zealand, the local executions have been few and far between. Colenso BBDO has done a few things for the South Korean behemoth, like Peter Bromhead drawing cartoons live on nzherald.co.nz and a virtual queue to launch the Galaxy S4. And now Barnes Catmur has given the Galaxy Note 2 the full Kiwi treatment by getting actor/director Taika Waititi to do his mad thing in an online only, long-form video called 'State of the —ATION'.
Creative managing partner Paul Catmur says Samsung works with "different people on different things", but it has been working with Samsung for around a year and takes care of all of its social media. Barnes Catmur has a relationship with Leo Burnett (not in terms of ownership), which is one of Samsung's global agencies, and the agency represents it in the New Zealand market as it doesn't have a presence here.
In the past, Samsung's advertising hasn't been too highly regarded, particularly in comparison to its main mobile competitor Apple. But it has greatly improved in recent times, with some impressive, humorous campaigns running in the US out of 72 and Sunny, like the recent Super Bowl work featuring Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Bob Odenkirk. So this quintessentially crazy Waititi escapade is aligned with that shift and Catmur says the Samsung guys were great and let him do his thing.
"We said 'that's what you're paying him for, so let him do it'. It wasn't too bad, but at times we had to say the objective of this is to get people to watch and enjoy it, not just list the product features."
Waititi, in a similar fashion to his starring role for Steinlager Pure, acted in and co-directed the spot with Stephen Kang (both are represented by Curious).
Catmur says Samsung has created longer form content with its brand ambassador LeBron James in the US, but that's usually been an online execution tied to a TV campaign. This Kiwi version is online only, with a Facebook app attached.
He says the company is keen to continue the relationship with Waititi so, depending on what comes up, it might not be the last time we see him spruiking Samsung products in his typically comical, self-deprecating fashion.
Hopefully he doesn't Tweet from an iPhone, like Samsung ambassador David Ferrer.