Korean electronics giant Samsung announced this week that it would be one of the sponsors of Israel’s Olympic team, as an extension of Samsung’s sponsorship of the Summer Olympics in London.
In order to demonstrate its “commitment to the success of Israel’s 38-strong Olympic team,” Samsung has produced a smartphone app that will allow Israelis to communicate directly with the athletes. In a ceremony Sunday, the athletes received Samsung Galaxy S III phones, which they will use to get the messages of support sent by fans in Israel. The app — which aggregates messages on the athletes’ Facebook pages — will send messages in real-time, giving the athletes a morale boost when they need it most, said Barak Palachi, marketing director of Samsung Israel.
The app, made for Android phones, will be available from the Samsung website beginning next week.
The app is part of a major advertising campaign being sponsored by Samsung Israel surrounding the Olympics, on which the company is spending NIS 3 million. According to one advertising expert, that is a hefty sum for an Israeli marketing campaign that will last for about three weeks.
“Samsung already has a large presence in the Israeli market, and is considered one of the premium brands in the country today in electronics, like televisions,” said Tzach Cohen, who manages a Tel Aviv advertising firm. “The company’s biggest concern now is upending Apple in the mobile market, promoting its new S3 [smartphone] model. With the publicity from this app and advertising campaign, Samsung will certainly get attention and goodwill.”
As one of the top sponsors of the Games, Samsung “purchased” one of the eight Olympic torches, and a company representative will present it at the Games when they begin on July 27. The torch was on display in Israel last month for several days.
Although Israel is one of its smaller markets, Korean electronics giant Samsung has gone out of its way to be a good corporate citizen here. For example, the company recently sponsored a “smart house” in Jerusalem, highlighting Samsung technologies, at a cost of over a million shekels. There are also several Samsung-subsidized programs for children and youth to learn high-tech skills.