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e-Briefing | Ad Test

Bad Connection

October 19, 2000

The ad: Samsung shows off its voice-activated mobile phone and trumpets its sponsorship of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

The setting: Michael Johnson, reigning Olympic champion in the 200- and 400-meter runs, is shown racing across the keys of a Samsung SCH-8500 phone. Naturally, he beats his competitors to the tape -- a phone cord -- then enters into a voice-activated phone chat with his coach, who for some reason is not watching the race in person.

The problem: The Olympic rings suggest that the race is happening in Sydney, but Johnson would have a tough time using his U.S. mobile phone in Australia. Samsung doesn't make a model that works in both countries, which use different wireless frequencies and software.

Hope Boatner, advertising manager for Samsung Telecommunications America, said the ad didn't mean to suggest that Samsung was making a phone that worked around the world. Instead, she said, it was trying to tout Samsung's role as the official wireless comunications equipment provider for the Olympics, as well as showing off some of the features of the SCH-8500.

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