Korean electronics mega-firm Samsung sifted through 11,500 video clips, submitted from 132 countries, to find just the right people for its new “Survivor”-type reality web show, and Liron Maimon of Ra’anana was among the 16 chosen to participate in its most ambitious promotion ever, SOS Island.
Ambitious, because it’s not just a marketing campaign: The company will be dumping the chosen for the final leg of the competition on a desert island (somewhere in the Caribbean) where they will have to do survival-type things to win — create fires by rubbing two sticks together, live off herbs, avoid getting eaten by wildlife, and all the other things that have made the “Survivor” format so popular as a reality TV program.
The Samsung twist: Users will record their triumphs and tribulations with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 device, posting their photos and videos to a Facebook page for viewers the world over to see. They will also be expected to “solve survival challenges using Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom and Galaxy NX camera,” which, given the contest’s sponsor, will likely award them with extra points.
“Survivor,” of course, is a TV show that has participants attempting, with precious few resources, to solve physical and mental challenges, proving that they are true survivors. The format (the concept has been franchised around the world, including in Israel) is full of thrills and chills, with individuals and teams pitted against each other in all sorts of contests. The participants eventually “eliminate” one another through a process of voting off the island, and the last woman or man to remain standing is the winner.
The Samsung challenge will work much the same way, but with a twist: Participants will be voted off the island by viewers of the programs, which will be broadcast on Samsung’s SOS Island website. However, the original “Survivor” ethos will be a big part of the event, thanks in large part to the presence of Les Stroud, the well-known American survival expert and host of the Discovery Network television series “Survivorman.” Stroud will train the 16 candidates, among them Maimon, beginning September 30, and five days later the group will be cut to eight and sent to the island to fend for themselves, and fend off the competition.
Participants will be on the island for two weeks in October, and the winner will be announced in December, with the grand prize being an island. According to the rules, the winner will get a voucher to buy or rent an island — or a segment thereof — anywhere in the world, a deal worth $100,000. “Island Broker Chris Krolow (from HGTV’s show Island Broker, CEO of Private Islands Inc. and owner of Private Islands magazine) will help you negotiate the best deal possible in the world. You might want to own a small island live for a year on a large island, live for a week in the lap of luxury in paradise, or even buy a plot in paradise. Chris will negotiate the deal which best suits your life, and it’s all for you at Samsung’s expense,” says the rulebook.
Since over 11,000 people applied to get into “SOS Island,” one can presume that the 16 chosen ones are already Survivor material, even before training with Stroud. Israel’s Maimon is certainly the kind of guy you would want helping you out on a desert island. At age 26, he’s known as “the machine” to his friends. He runs over 20 kilometers a day, eats very carefully and healthfully, and considers himself a “perfectionist,” Maimon said, adding that he has a very competitive side, which, he believes, will serve him well in the contest.
Maimon certainly impressed casting director Vinnie Potestivo. “Liron’s enthusiastic athletic ability and competitive spirit stood out immediately” in his application video, he said. “It will be interesting to see how his high self-confidence and win-at-all-costs attitude serves him in the competition.”
“This will be a really big adventure for the contestants and the online fans,” Stroud said. “Samsung combines cutting-edge media trends and platforms with a subject I am most passionate about — survival. Samsung is paving the way for how brands produce and share content that reach audiences across the globe.”