Samsung has had a number of issues with celebrity endorsement. On a few occasions, their paid sponsors have accidentally revealed that they prefer to use their iPhone, or another competitor’s phone. The most famous recent example was Ellen DeGeneres. The most retweeted selfie ever was taken by her Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which she was paid to use by Samsung. In fact, this popular Tweet may have been nothing more than a large-scale marketing ploy by Samsung. However, Elen was caught using her iPhone later in the night for her personal use, such as taking photos and tweeting. This is the opposite of what a company wanted with their marketing plans, as it shows consumers that their favorite celebrities would rather ditch the devices they were paid to use for their competition. However, LeBron James recently showed Samsung another reason they should abandon this marketing decision: public product failures.
LeBron James was well known for his endorsement of Samsung products, and appeared in commercials for the company. When he states that his phone data was wiped, and he lost everything due to a bug with the phone, he’s public ally calling Samsung out for their failure. As you might expect, he was contacted and he quickly deleted the Tweet. But this is the 21st century. What gets on the Internet isn’t very easy to delete. LeBron’s tweet was immortalized in screenshots, like the one above. During the short lifespan of the tweet, HTC even had some fun with it, suggesting that he should ditch his phone, saying “the world’s best player deserves the world’s best smartphone”.
It seems strange that Samsung would continue to pay celebrities to use their devices. Their company and the products they make seem to get far more attention when things go poorly than when things go correctly for them. Sure, the selfie taken by Ellen was the most retweeted selfie ever, but how many people even cared that it was taken with a Samsung device? The only time Samsung’s brand was mentioned was when it was discovered that the selfie was a marketing ploy, and Ellen was later found out to be using an iPhone. Now, LeBron did a few commercials for Samsung, but now that he’s expressed extreme disappointment in his device, he has managed to undo the promotional work he has done for the company. In fact, it’s brought an issue to light that customers of their competion, iPhone users, never have to worry about. Apple offers free iCloud backups for all iOS devices, which means no iPhone user has to deal with this issue. If anything, LeBron’s endorsement of Samsung and then subsequent issues actually did some fantastic advertising for Apple, and even HTC. With all the issues Samsung faces with celebrity endorsements, it seems absurd that they’d continue to pour money into a marketing campaign that doesn’t work.