Samsung lets web surfers pick Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team

The electronics giant is kicking off its Olympic marketing with an online contest.

Samsung Canada is ramping up its Olympic marketing campaign with a contest on the CTV Olympics site that lets visitors play the role of Steve Yzerman. The Fantasy Hockey 2010 Roster Predictor invites users to select 12 forwards, seven defencemen, three goalies and one alternate for Team Canada’s men’s hockey team.

The contest was devised and created by CTV, while Starcom MediaVest handled the media buy. ‘[CTV] said: ‘brief us on your objectives.’ We said ‘we want to create a number of unique content pieces around hockey.’ They proposed this one and we jumped on it,’ Howard Thomas, director of corporate marketing at Samsung Canada, tells MiC. ‘Here you’ve got a media consortium developing a creative property for a client, which is normally the domain of an agency.’

‘This is the early hype of our Olympic strategy,’ says Thomas, ‘and it’s perfectly timed with the men’s camp. There’s all these armchair general managers out there, so it’s the perfect way for us to kick off the road to Vancouver.’ Howard adds that Samsung Canada ‘put all its eggs in one basket’ with regards to focusing its Olympics marketing on hockey. The electronics company has already enlisted the endorsement of men’s and women’s hockey stars Jarome Iginla and Hayley Wickenheiser, and is a sponsor of Hockey Canada.

Samsung is targeting both Olympics fans and hardcore sports fans with the contest and all subsequent Olympics marketing. ‘Olympics fans are more casual,’ says Thomas, ‘and are drawn to the Olympics for the majesty of the games, as opposed to the sports fan who watches football, baseball, hockey.’ Samsung’s core global demographic is the 18 to 34 early adopter of technology. ‘They spend a ton of time online, so we’ve got to reach them in their own environment,’ Thomas tells MiC.

The Roster Predictor entrant whose picks are closest to the actual Team Canada roster receives a 50-inch plasma TV and an Omnia phone. Entrants are also entered in monthly random draws for a chance to win Vice or Reclaim phones, as well as an early bird draw (for those who register before Aug. 29) for the chance to win a 40-inch LCD TV or a digital camera. All prizes are provided by Samsung.

Samsung is planning two more Olympic contests in the coming months. One will be in the same vein as the Roster Predictor, while the other will be a viral contest taking place in five countries for the chance to be an Olympic correspondent for Samsung. The company will also shoot its first ever Canadian commercial in two weeks, with creative done by Cheil Communications.