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Samsung Flexes Marketing Muscle With Snapchat Partnership, While Smartphone Sales Sag

The Galaxy S5 is a huge disappointment.

Samsung Flexes Marketing Muscle With Snapchat Partnership, While Smartphone Sales Sag
[Photo: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]
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Samsung became one of the major players in the smartphone industry through sheer brute force, throwing dozens of billions of dollars into its monstrous marketing budget. This, coupled with a product strategy to roll out iterative new gadgets every few weeks, made it the number one handset seller in the world with nearly 25% of the global marketshare, according to IDC. (Apple controls a mere 12%.)

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Last night, for example, Samsung partnered with Snapchat at the American Music Awards for what looks to be the first-ever sponsored “Our Story,” which splices together different Snapchats taken at the AMA’s into a storybook, giving Snapchat users an insider glimpse at the award show. Samsung’s love for influencers and celebrities is well-treaded territory. But customers seem to like this ad treatment, mostly because they don’t have to play the video if they don’t want to.

But this year Samsung sales hit a wall. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Samsung Galaxy S5, a very good and waterproof Android flagship that went on sale in April, was a huge disappointment, selling 40% fewer units than the company anticipated. Now Samsung is reportedly considering “a major leadership shake-up,” one of which might included the demotion of co-CEO J.K. Shin.

Samsung’s undoing could be traced to smaller and more nimble Chinese smartphone makers like Huawei, which make high-end Android devices at cheaper prices, and is seeing its marketshare explode throughout Asia. Tucked into the Journal’s report, however, was a small but significant bright spot for Samsung: The S5 actually outsold its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, in the United States, during a similar time period right after their launches.

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About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more

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