Samsung follows up washing machine ad with campaign featuring... nothing

After last year's TV ad showed a three-minute uninterrupted washing machine cycle (and subsequently a feature-length version) the electronics giant's new activation features a large-scale #TVblackout of screens.

In November, PR agency Taylor Herring brought a washing machine to the nation's screens in what it said was the longest single-shot TV spot in history.

A week later, the agency announced the premiere of a 66-minute version of the film, with a score by a Bafta-nominated composer. The campaign was inspired by research showing that the average Brit spends 1,481 hours of their life watching the washing go round.


Its new through-the-line #TVblackout campaign kicks off in prime time on 25 May with a 20-second ad designed to trick viewers into thinking their devices have been turned off by showing a blank screen.

The darkness ends with the text: "This is your TV screen... most of the time; a void full of nothing." It then explains the features of Samsung QLED technology which has an 'ambient' mode meaning viewers need never see a blank screen again. Taylor Herring has carried out research showing that three in five British adults agree that large black TV screens can dominate a room.

There is also a 30-second version, and other cuts will be deployed across cinema screens, digital advertising and, eye-catchingly, on the huge screen of London's Piccadilly Circus. A 10-second preview is shown below:

The big-money campaign includes 221 TV spots across 18 channels over 10 days, reaching an estimated 49m viewers. Media buying has been done by Starcom.

Taylor Herring is one of a number of agencies on Samsung's roster.

There is also a live activation, with groups of 'TV people' picketing high streets with placards.

Rebecca Hirst, marketing director of Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland said: "This unique and disruptive marketing campaign has been designed to underscore our messaging in the most dramatic way possible, switching sets off to remind the public that their TV is simply a boring black screen for 90 per cent of the time."

'Agency neutral' client

Asked how it as a small PR agency with around 20 full-time staff, it managed to win the right to do large-scale through the line work for a major client, Taylor Herring managing partner Peter Mountstevens commented: "It helps to have a client who is willing to take a few calculated risks and activate against big and sometimes challenging ideas - regardless of which specialist agency presents the creative.

"Many of our clients are now adopting an 'idea first' or 'agency neutral' approach to creative and are looking for ideas which can cut through the news cycle so this opens up a number of opportunities above and beyond what we might consider 'conventional PR'. We are fortunate in so much that over the last three years we have been given some incredible opportunities by Samsung."

This article was first published on


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