When you first see this new Samsung ad from China, you might think it’s a bit over-the-top. We see the world through the eyes of a young boy making his way around by walking on his hands, over rocky roads and more, just to get to school. Between that, the soft piano music and the nice people in Samsung vests giving him a wheelchair, it all seems a bit too custom made to hit you right in your cryballs.
Before you roll your eyes, you should know it’s actually true. A 12-year-old boy named Yan Yuhong suffered from polio at age six, forcing him to walk to school on his hands. And Samsung China did give him a motorized wheelchair, as well as made a commitment to help in his long-term rehabilitation.
If that wasn’t enough to impress, the brand also helped 14-year-old Liu Qingnan, who had lost her sight due to congenital cataracts, by paying for her eye surgery to help her see again. Samsung has also signed an agreement with the China Youth Development Fund to support education programs, and committed to continued investment in helping more disabled youth.
On the company blog, the brand says it took favored this approach over something more product-focused because “one of the hottest promotion trends in China engages storytelling that emphasizes public interest combined with moving stories of real people.”
Hollywood has known for years the power of “based on a true story,” and smart marketers–remember Intel’s Project Daniel?–are finding ways to tap into that while also using their considerable resources to make brand-building a force of good.