I'll be honest here, I never got Gavin and Stacey, and furthermore, I never got James Corden. Granted he comes across as an affable enough bloke in interviews, and as a stockier gentleman myself, it's nice to see a man with a little more junk in the trunk represented in the media as something besides an eternal punchline, but I never actually found him funny. I'm willing to let that slide, however, thanks to his latest turn in a new spot by Cheil UK for the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone, because it might not be a side-splitting performance, but it's a smartphone ad that doesn't take itself seriously. That fact alone is surely worthy of applause? Plus it (quite slyly) berates the -bearded hipster, and nobody really likes them right?
James Corden and his alter ego Wilf launch Samsung Galaxy S6
The piece in question (above) is an online spot that coincides with the launch of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones. It sees the new host of The Late Late Show (it's an American institution apparently) cast in two roles; his normal affable self introducing the snazzy new phones and their features in a simple, elegant fashion, and the pretentious director “Wilf Meltson.” The Wilf character is one we've seen countless times before; an overbearing, self-absorbed luvvie with delusions of grandeur, who wants to take a simple ad spot and turn it into some kind of “Transcendent artistic experience.” It's quite obviously a dig at Apple, and as such, it's like shooting fish in a barrel (who hasn't taken a swipe at Apple lately?), but given the fact that Samsung is quite easily Apple's closest competitor in the smartphone wars, it's a wise move. Corden's performance is surprisingly understated, and whilst the self-hating celebrity pitchman approach has been used countless times before, it works. Corden himself said of the experience; “I’ve had so much fun making this video with Samsung, ‘Wilf’ the director was a great character to play.” The video builds on the brand’s “News event” ad in the UK earlier this year, which used footage from the Galaxy S6’s launch at Mobile World Congress just hours after the event.
James Corden stars in a tongue-in-cheek new spot by Cheil UK for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones
The spot also gives the Korean electronics giants chance to brag about the features of their new phones (wireless charging, a sleek metal and glass design) without coming across like they're bragging. The split personality idea also serves to highlight the split personalities of the phones, which is being marketed as a device suitable for work use and social use. The material went live over the weekend across Samsung’s owned media, digital and social channels to compliment the more conventional global TV ad spot (below), which was created by 72andSunny, and goes for a more aspirational tone. Cheil UK is responsible for the concept and campaign execution, whilst production support was provided by Radical Media and Fulwell 73, and media planning was handled by Starcom.
Anticipation – Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge Official TVC
Russell Taylor, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland, said; “The new Galaxy S6 is the most important phone launch for Samsung this year. Because of this, we need a way to communicate not only the design and quality of the two phones and their innovative features, but also entertain and engage our customers. We feel we have really captured this, and our brand personality that comes across via this content is humorous, tongue-in-cheek and timely – with the use of man of the moment James Corden.” Matt Pye, COO at Cheil UK, added; “James is real hot property right now, following his star turn as the host of The Late Late Show in the US. He’s king of the latest viral videos, and it made perfect sense to use his unique comedy gifts, personality and charisma to launch Samsung’s most revolutionary smartphones to date. The video is fun, engaging and shareable – and will give the S6 some serious clout on launch day.”
The piece is an online spot that coincides with the launch of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones
What are your thoughts on the ad? Do you think James Corden is a decent brand ambassador for Samsung? Or do you think his specific, very British schtick is a little tired and predictable? Sound off in the comments below.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He's currently due for a phone upgrade and is still waiting to be convinced to leave the sweet, familiar embrace of Apple.