Samsung Telecommunications America, LLP has embarked on a series of new sponsorships to promote its next generation mobile phones and take a bite out the competition from Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

The wireless handset maker launched 60 new phones this year, continuing a three-year push to introduce feature-rich devices offering a range of multimedia applications.

While the subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. has sponsored music, film and other properties to reach teens and twenty-somethings, its new deals reflect its desire to reach an expanding customer base.

For example, the company is presenting the December-to-February Dancing with the Stars: The Tour on behalf of Eternity, a touchscreen smart phone. The tie follows Samsung Mobile’s presenting status of ESPN’s College Football Rivalry Week, a sponsorship it used to reach students, alumni and other fans.

Other new deals this year have continued the company’s focus on properties that reach its core young-adult target. They include Samsung Sound Check, a proprietary concert series last spring that featured one-night events in five cities, and presenting status of the inaugural Rockstar Energy Drink Get A Life Tour, which visited 25 college campuses and was headlined by alt-rockers The Used.

Samsung also was slated to title the inaugural 25-stop Musink Tattoo and Music Festival beginning in late January, but the promoters cancelled the event earlier this month, citing the “current economic climate.”

The flurry of sponsorship activity comes as Samsung tops the U.S. handset market for the first time. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung claimed 22.4 percent of sales in third quarter ’08, to move from the number three position past previous market leader Motorola, Inc. and LG Electronics Mobilecomm U.S.A., Inc.

“We found our business was stronger than our brand,” said Bill Ogle, who became Samsung Telecommunications America’s first-ever chief marketing officer in Sept. ’07. “We are partnering with our carriers on promotions that build our brand and sell more of our phones.”

Samsung is using sponsorship to accomplish the following marketing objectives:
• Promote new phones to targeted audiences
• Build relations with carrier partners
• Gain one-on-one demonstration opportunities
• Access content
• Tout its brand through title or presenting status

Different Phones Get Different Deals
Samsung aligned with the 38-stop Dancing with the Stars: The Tour to promote Eternity, a $200 phone that launched last month and offers music, Internet access, AT&T Mobile TV and other functions. The phone is exclusive to carrier AT&T Inc.

“The people who watch Dancing with the Stars are a good mix of males and females, and they tend to be in the upper socioeconomic scale,” Ogle said.

Samsung is leveraging the tie to drive traffic to AT&T stores. The company is running an in-store ticket sweepstakes at AT&T locations in each tour market; Samsung is touting the promotion through radio station promotions, including live remotes at AT&T stores.

Samsung also has on-site product demonstration displays at each tour stop.

Although primarily a media buy, Samsung Mobile’s presenting status with ESPN’s November 22-to-November 29 College Football Rivalry Week included a live event extension.

“Rivalry Week is a pure brand play,” Ogle said. “It’s all about partnering with college football’s pre-eminent week during the regular season where we get some halo effect for our brand.”

The platform reached college graduates, a demographic that tends to buy smart phones, he added.

In addition to Rivalry Week ID, Samsung received ad spots across ABC and ESPN broadcast, print and online media.

The company activated the partnership by hosting the Samsung Rock N’ Rally concert featuring The All-American Rejects in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 21, the day before The Ohio State University/University of Michigan game. Samsung used footage from the free concert in its ESPN TV spots during Rivalry Week.

It also hosted a tailgate event at AT&T’s campus store the day before the Rock N’ Rally. The event featured an autograph signing session with former Buckeye quarterback Craig Krenzel and the opportunity to win behind-the-scenes passes for the concert, phones and game tickets.

Samsung used the two events to promote the Propel, an $80 phone launched in October. The model, promoted by Ozzy Osbourne in its TV spots, features a camcorder and sliding keyboard to make texting convenient and is targeted at consumers in their twenties.

Around Samsung Sound Check, the series of exclusive concerts featuring a different artist in each city, the manufacturer gave presenting status to a local wireless carrier in each market: Alltel Corp. (New Orleans and Charlotte, N.C.); Cricket Wireless (Houston); MetroPCS Communications Inc. (Las Vegas) and U.S. Cellular Corp. (Chicago). Participating artists were Gym Class Heroes, Jimmy Eat World, Ne-Yo, Paramore and Sean Kingston.

Samsung Sound Check builds on the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush, a two-year-old July-through-September music series that features hour-long concerts in seven markets. Artists this year included Mariah Carey (Los Angeles); Nas (New York City); LeAnn Rimes (Dallas); and Gavin Rossdale (Seattle).

Samsung distributed tickets to both concert series via local radio promotions as well through SamsungSoundCheck.com and SamsungSummerKrush.com.

The telecom used the Summer Krush series to promote its BlackJack II smart phone. Samsung in July rolled out two new colors for the phone–Romantic Pink and Ocean Blue.

Samsung leveraged its sponsorship of the April-to-May Get a Life Tour with an online battle of the bands competition to fill the opening act slot.

Film, Motorsports And Local Deals Remain On The Roster
Samsung Mobile is continuing its involvement with two other properties sponsored out of its corporate office: the Samsung Fresh Films teen filmmaking competition and title of the Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The company uses its three-year-old Fresh Films title to gain one-on-one opportunities to demonstrate its camera, camcorder and MP3 phones to teenagers.

The Sprint Cup race earns national visibility and serves to entertain clients and prospects in Samsung Telecommunications’ home market, Ogle said. RadioShack Corp. co-titled the race with Samsung in ’05 and ’06; the manufacturer has had sole title since.

In addition to corporate ties overseen by Ogle, Samsung Telecommunications also screens and funds deals out of regional offices, some of which are stepping up sponsorship.

For example, in ’07 Samsung’s office in Seattle signed a supporting sponsorship deal with the Bumbershoot arts and music festival, a tie it expanded to presenting status this year in a two-year extension.

As part of the deal, Samsung titles a festival stage; it also activates with product demonstrations at on-site booths and client hospitality. Samsung also uses the sponsorship to build its relationship with T-Mobile USA, Inc., which is based in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Wash.

Local marketing directors in each regional office screen and sign off.

Parent Samsung Electronics Co.’s global sponsorships include TOP VIII through 2012, the LPGA’s Samsung World Championship tournament, World Cyber Games and the Nobel Museum’s ’07-’10 worldwide traveling exhibition.

Sponsorship Activity By Other Mobile Phone Manufacturers

Company/Contact
LG Electronics
Mobilecomm U.S.A, Inc.
Jason Swinford, experiential marketing manager
858/635-5300

Strategy
Number three in U.S. market share in third quarter ’08 uses sponsorship to tout fashion-forward positioning, reach young trendsetters and tout multifunction phones. Six-year-old tie to ASA Entertainment’s action sports properties includes extensive media exposure and a grassroots promotional platform; leverages with team of action sports pros, client hospitality and content initiatives. ASA deal is funded by Seoul-based parent LG Electronics Inc. Leveraged year-old Save the Music tie with a summer ’08 promotion with singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield that offered an exclusive ringtone that benefited the foundation.

Deals
Title: Action Sports World Championships; World Championships of Freestyle Motocross. Cosponsor: VH1 Save the Music Foundation

Additional Comments
Signed promotional deals around this month’s release of The Day the Earth Stood Still and May ’08 debut of Iron Man. LG Canada this month signed title of Toronto Fashion Week, while Parent LG Electronics recently signed a five-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Formula One, a tie it will use to promote multiple products. LG’s 3Q U.S. market share was 20.5 percent.

Company/Contact
Motorola, Inc.
Meredith Starkey, senior manager, sponsorship and event marketing, Motorola
Mobile Devices
847/576-5000

Strategy
Moto concentrates on its long-running partnerships with the NFL and IndyCar team Andretti Green Racing and driver Danica Patrick. Leverages NFL partnership with Motorola Coach of the Year award; also uses the tie to tout RAZR2 as the “official phone of people who love football.” Leveraged Patrick tie with a summer ’08 promo at MotoDanica.com, where consumers could enter a sweeps dangling a trip to the IndyCar Series race in Sonoma, Calif. The site also featured footage of Patrick, videos of the Moto Q smart phone and other content.

Deals
Title: Andretti Green Racing IndyCar Series team. Cosponsor: IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Milwaukee Mile races; NFL.

Additional Comments
Motorola in ’06 extended its NFL partnership with a five-year deal through the ’11 season. As part of the deal, the company works with the league to improve communication between coaches, staff and other stakeholders. The deal also includes branding on coaches’ sideline headsets. Motorola slipped to number two in market share, with 21.1 percent of 3Q sales.

Company/Contact
Nokia, Inc.
Jason Dyer, head of global media, sponsorship and agency management
972/894-5000

Strategy
Almost exclusively involved with music and entertainment properties to promote its multimedia phones and gain exclusive content. Nokia earlier this year took official handset status of the GRAMMY Awards, a tie it used to gain video and music content. Leveraged partnership with Live Nation to promote Ticket Rush, a free program that alerted consumers to pre-sales and other special ticket offers via messages sent to their phones. Nokia also used the tie to offer special perks to customers such as special venue access through the Nokia Speed Line and the chance to win seat upgrades.

Deals
Title: Nokia Theatres, Grand Prairie, Texas; Los Angeles; and New York City; Club Nokia and Nokia Plaza, L.A. Live. Cosponsor: GRAMMY Awards; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Live Nation; MLB San Diego Padres.

Additional Comments
Number five mobile phone brand posted 8.4 percent market share in 3Q. Works with GMR Entertainment on entertainment sponsorship strategy and implementation. Accepts proposals through nokia.sponsorport.com.

Company/Contact
Research In Motion Ltd.
Paul Kalbfleisch, senior director of corporate marketing
519/888-7465

Strategy
BlackBerry manufacturer has ramped up use of sponsorship over the past two years to better connect with consumers and promote its expanding portfolio of multimedia handsets. For example, BlackBerry presented John Mayer’s ’07 and ’08 tours as a platform to promote its Curve phone to young music aficionados, an audience the company had not traditionally targeted. The company leveraged through on-site product demos, hospitality and JohnMayer.BlackBerry.com.

Deals
Presenting: John Mayer tour. Cosponsor: PGA Tour Champions Tour AT&T Championship, San Antonio; iFest, Houston Int’l Festival; ING Bay to Breakers 12K run, San Francisco; Kentucky Derby Festival.

Additional Comments
Cosponsor deals all signed in ’08. RIM was drawn to Mayer in part due to the musician’s use of its products. On the media front, BlackBerry purchased presenting sponsorship of TBS’s coverage of the ’08 MLB League Division Series, around which it encouraged viewers to send questions to studio host Ernie Johnson’s BlackBerry. Number four brand had 11 percent 3Q market share.

Market share statistics per Strategy Analytics