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Samsung Receives an Early Christmas Present from Kristen Bell

When it comes to Christmas music, I typically have a no-listening-until-December-1 policy. Although it may seem a bit Scrooge-like, I don’t want my friends and family to lose sight of the fact that they have an equally exciting day to celebrate right after Thanksgiving—my birthday.

But this year I’ve abandoned my Grinchy ways and started rocking around the Christmas tree a little bit early. It all started this past Monday when I came across the catchy little ditty “Text Me Merry Christmas” sung by actress Kristen Bell and a cappella group Straight No Chaser.

In the song, Bell sings about how she wants her far-away lover to “text her Merry Christmas” and remember her this holiday season. As a millennial listener, the lyrics truly resonated with me and captured how Gen Y members communicate today. See here:

I immediately showed the clip to my boyfriend—hoping that he’d be just as ready to break out the stockings as I was. But after the video played, he just said. “Oh, that was a good Samsung ad.”

“It’s not an ad,” I protested.

“Well, they included an unbranded version of a Samsung Galaxy in this video,” my boyfriend, a Galaxy owner himself, pointed out.

Now, I knew that living with an editor of a marketing magazine had made my boyfriend a bit jaded towards the whole advertising industry. But he made a good observation. Besides, Samsung had made other stealthy marketing moves this year—like Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie and David Ortiz’s photo with President Obama. Plus, Bell recently appeared in a Samsung ad with her husband and fellow actor Dax Shepard to promote the Galaxy Tab S.

Could this really be just another marketing ploy? Had I really been duped?

I reached out to Samsung to see if the mobile brand was behind the song, and a PR representative confirmed that there was no affiliation—but that would have been brilliant. Perhaps Bell just knew featuring an iPhone after starring in a Samsung commercial would have been a major faux pas.

Still, my boyfriend’s response to the music video reinforced his loyalty to the brand. As an iPhone owner, I would have never picked up on the Galaxy inclusion. Conversely, it was the first thing he noticed.

The holiday tune also reminded me that brands need to be agile and creative enough to capitalize on opportunities when they arise. Oreo is clearly the poster child for marketing on the fly—given that its spontaneous “Dunk in the Dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout generated more than 10,000 retweets, 18,000 likes, and 5,000 shares in the first hour alone, according to digital marketing agency 360i. Straight No Chaser uploaded the “Text Me Merry Christmas” video to the a cappella group’s official YouTube channel on November 17, and it’s already garnered more than 900,000 views—as well as several media mentions. So I was surprised to see that, at the time of this writing, Samsung hadn’t tweeted the video or at least posted about it on its Facebook page. Sharing the song would have been an easy and organic way for Samsung to engage consumers before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday hustle and bustle. Brands don’t get opportune moments like this often, and it’s important for them to act on them quickly.  

But one question still remains: Should brands text their customers Merry Christmas this holiday season? Only if they have something relevant to say. According to the 2014 Mobile Behavior Report from Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, 54% of consumers have subscribed to a brand’s text messaging service. Of those who have, 91% find these messages useful. As for consumers who haven’t opted in, 52% consider brands’ text messages disruptive and 41% say that they don’t provide meaningful content.

So feel free to experiment with text messages this holiday season, but make sure that your content gives consumers some type of gift—be it humor, coupons, or sales alerts. Oh, and please don’t leave any voicemails. As Bell sings in her song, “that’s from Christmas past.”

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