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Samsung Gear S3: The ultimate survival companion. In association with Discovery Channel

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The Smartwatch marketplace is maturing, and manufacturers have to overcome both design and cultural barriers to encourage purchase and everyday use. Simply put, people not only need to know why they should buy a Smartwatch, but also be convinced it’s ok to wear one.  

APAC and EMEA were the Samsung Gear S3's core target markets as they are the second and third-largest markets for Smartwatch penetration. However, it was clear that both markets required education on the increased Smartwatches capabilities.   

Samsung was lagging behind Apple in the Smartwatch market in both awareness and market share (Apple 45%), so it was imperative it not only educated people about the product, but also showcased all the cool things it can do.   

Also, Smartwatches for travel have yet to be considered a necessity; today’s world travellers just don’t see current Smartwatch features essential for them. Most people think of Smartwatches as simply a fancy fitness tracker that can connect to the internet, so Starcom had to show the target market that the Gear S3 Frontier offers so much more... 


Rather than just talk about technological capabilities, it positioned the Gear S3 as the ‘Ultimate Survival Companion’, the indispensable tool for the target audience of adventurous world travellers. 

To bring this idea to life, the agency needed a partner with both expertise and credibility in the great outdoors. Someone who transcends borders and cultures. Discovery has a global reputation for all the above. Its audience reached 44% of Samsung’s target users and are three times more likely to have a strong interest in survival, adventure and the great outdoors.    

But reach and affinity were not enough. It needed to demonstrate the Gear S3 as the best Smartwatch in the market, but in a credible and believable way. Key to this was securing the right talent. A specialist sport and entertainment agency negotiated and managed a partnership with the ultimate adventurer and global explorer, Bear Grylls. It was a no brainer; Bear has true global appeal and embodies the Ultimate Survival Companion.   

Central to this activation was the creation of content featuring Bear Grylls putting the Samsung Gear S3 to the test in authentic outdoor settings. Bear showed viewers how to survive in the wild. He showcased the Gear S3’s rugged build and features, including the barometer, altimeter, S Health and weather apps, at the same time trying to escape the rain and build himself a fire to keep warm. 

This campaign pushed the boundaries of video by leveraging Samsung’s premiere 360 & VR tech to provide a truly immersive experience. Content was distributed through Pre-Roll and amplified through Facebook to generate conversation. Content was also played via TVC in premium spots around first-run big-name shows such as Outdoor Experience & Dual Survival. 


TV spots were aired in prime time across Discovery’s global network, reaching 50 different markets. To increase relevance, activity was up-weighted across those programmes with an outdoors focus. 

In addition, the agency created content especially designed for specific platforms. These formats increased engagement by dynamically communicating the Gear S3’s durability and ability to function in extreme conditions.  

It was vital to capitalise on Bear Grylls’ endorsement of the product to enhance its credibility. Bear showcased his own survival tips to his core fans by hosting multiple pieces of both static and video content on his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles. Facebook Canvas provided editorial support around the watch and watch-face, as well as hosting an immersive 360 behind-the-scenes experience of the shoot. Bear’s personal endorsement helped spread the Gear S3 message, while also superbly demonstrating the watch’s unique capabilities.  

The accompanying behind-the-scenes 360 experience was filmed solely on a Samsung Gear 360. Bear filmed some of this himself, further demonstrating the camera’s ease of use - whether a selfie stick or mounted on a camera buggy. 360 and VR content was hosted on Facebook as well as on Discovery’s VR platform, which reinforced Bear’s trust in the brand as well as Samsung product range.  

In addition, a custom ad unit created by Discovery highlighted the functionality of the watch and allowed people to further explore different use scenarios. In these scenarios, Bear showed several ways in which the watch face functions helped him to survive in the wild. 


Awareness among viewers exposed to the campaign was 45% higher than unexposed viewers (DRES Consulting study conducted in five key markets - UK, Germany, Italy, Mexico and India).  

In addition to the central content, a further 1.2m people viewed the VR Video content, while CTR for the pre-roll content was three times higher than the industry standard, showing that people truly engaged with the platform.   

When asked the reason they would buy the Samsung Gear, respondents suggested ‘extreme durability’ and ‘ability to withstand extreme conditions’ – confirming the campaign’s efficiency in relaying brand/product messaging. 

And thanks to Bear’s successful endorsement, viewers considered the Gear S3 116% times more appealing: ‘Bear Grylls is my favourite personality. I would love to buy the product due to its extreme durability and ability to withstand extreme conditions.’ 

This appeal translated to purchase intention with nearly two thirds (65%) considering the Samsung Gear as the only brand/one of the first brands they would consider if they were buying a Smartwatch (vs. 42% of non- viewers).

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