Samsung opened a multi-million dollar interactive showcase for its products and technologies in the heart of Manhattan last Thursday that's designed to build brand awareness and promote a premium, high-tech cachet for the company.
The 10,000-square-foot demo-only spac is located in the Time Warner Center building in midtown Manhattan. It is open to the public but will also be used for trade presentations. No products will be sold at the site, although retail referrals will be provided.
The venue, dubbed Samsung Experience, uses interactive displays and virtual-reality experiences to highlight hundreds of products, including camcorders, MP3 players and advanced cellphones with video recording, high-resolution photography and gaming features that have not yet been introduced in the United States. Samsung will also conduct technology seminars, tutorials, product launches and other special events there.
Demonstrations include a virtual world in a 360-degree interactive simulation, rotating LCD screens, and a map of New York City that can be manipulated with hand gestures. In addition, a unique loaner program allows visitors to borrow hard disk-based camcorders, shoot footage around the city, and then return to the Experience to edit and burn their videos onto DVDs. Guests can also download ringtones to their cellphones, and use Samsung Napster MP3 players to download songs from Napster to CDs.
“Samsung Experience is digital convergence in its purest form — where you can see, hear, touch and create the art of the possible,” said Dong Jin Oh, CEO of Samsung Electronics North America. “Our hope is that the venue will become a great educational resource, communicating the life-enhancing benefits of digital technology without the pressures of a sales environment.”
Samsung previewed the Experience before the trade in a pair of back-to-back events hosted by Oh; senior VP/marketing Peter Weedfald; and Jong Yong Yun, CEO of Samsung Electronics.
Weedfald told TWICE that Samsung is considering opening additional showcases in “top cities around the world.” He stressed that their purpose was to promote digital technologies and to wave the corporate flag, rather than compete with retailers. “Unlike some of our competitors, we're not opening stores,” he said. “We will maintain our channel strategy.”
The Experience, located within an upscale shopping mall and directly adjacent to CNN's new New York studios, will be open seven days a week and manned by a staff of 40.
Experience partners include HDNet and INHD, which created customized HD programming; Microsoft, responsible for Xbox gaming content; Napster, Samsung's partner in cobranded Napster MP3s players and Napster music service; Dr. John Maeda of MIT Media Lab, who served as executive advisor and co-designed the exhibit's interactive stations and cyber brand showcase; and Sprint PCS, a key driver of anticipated consumer events, tutorials and seminars.