Not strictly retail but certainly an experience, the Samsung dinner at the Four Seasons hotel during Paris Fashion Week was solely aimed at techanistas or early adopter fashion bloggers, and coincided with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge mobile phone, just the week before at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.
The fashion industry was invited to a runway show and ‘tasting dinner’, where the sleek new Galaxy S6 phone design credentials were unpacked in a suitably theatrical fashion (puffs of Co2 escaping from glass tumblers), alongside a desert tray of nibbles that were intended to mirror the choice of fashion accessories that accompany the phone. I wanted my phone to be like the miniature square short-crust biscuit with black and white chocolate topping – all compact and graphic packaging.
Then, after Younghee Lee, executive VP of Samsung global marketing and her design counterpart Hyanyeul Lee, VP of Samsung’s UX Innovation team talked the audience through the virtues of metal and glass for a seamless design, oh and the numerous selfie enhancements and FROW photography functionalities, an army of futuristic looking waiters delivered a wireless charger, clear casing and an actual phone to each attendee. Only then did we get to play around with the device for 10 minutes, while Jessica Stam walked up and down ‘modelling’ the phone. Samsung made the most of the assembled fashion industry and supermodels with plentiful photo opportunities and Samsung’s latest VR headsets served like the fashionable canapés (real dinner) on silver platters for guests to try out for themselves.
For more, read this fly on the wall report on Samsung Tomorrow’s blog.
The Retail Planner verdict: Fashion and technology are happy bedfellows in today’s fast-paced consumer electronics market. While Samsung is playing catch up to Apple in the luxury positioning stakes (with this event one month before the Apple Watch launch in April), the Galaxy S6 launch event was clever marketing with a social and digital agenda. It’s backed up by a credible partnership design strategy in the shape of its Forces of Fashion project that is a call to arms for the fashion industry to work with Samsung on future creative design collaborations and start a conversation. On that note, we can get just a tiny bit excited about the fact I was seated next to Alexander Wang’s right hand marketing woman.