The Samsung Experience showroom in the Time Warner Center is a treasure trove of high-tech electronic goods. But the retail launch of the brand's new Blu-ray disc player called for the showroom to be transformed into something more: a chic lounge of sorts, with plenty of electronic equipment on hand as well as an infusion of blue velvet ropes, blue carpet with the Samsung logo, white couches, and blue Lucite cocktail tables and chairs.
Blu-ray is a high-density disc that can store more high-definition video and data than a DVD. PR company MWW Group hired Empire Force Events to design and produce the launch event for Samsung.“Their objective was to maximize the branding of the new technology. Samsung was first to market [with the Blu-ray], and wanted to create an event environment that was conducive to the reveal of this new visual technology: an upscale feel to support the upscale positioning of the product,” said Robert Hulsmeyer, senior partner at Empire Force.
“[Samsung execs] wanted to create an experience to get their target market to linger longer in the store. So we worked with them to create a lounge-type atmosphere where they'd feel comfortable relaxing and experiencing more of the new product,“ Hulsmeyer said. To accomplish this, Empire's design for the event played off the brand's tagline, “imagine your emotions amplified.” To emphasize Blu-ray's high-definition capabilities, the Empire Force team created two viewing rooms designed to be what Hulsmeyer called “immersive experiences, where [they] played on all of guests' senses.” The intimate rooms featured gray walls, ceilings, and furniture, and then used sounds, lighting, scent machines, taste, and touch to amplify the emotions mirrored in the films that were playing on the Blu-ray disc players. (The showing of 50 First Dates, for example, included tropical-looking lighting and pumped-in scents of pineapple and eucalyptus to recreate the movie's Hawaiian locale and fun, happy feel.)
Taste provided light hors d'oeuvres, such as wild mushroom crostini, and served aqua-colored “Blu-ray martinis” to guests as they arrived.
—Erika Rasmusson Janes
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