How Samsung’s Persuaders Convince Celebs That Android Is Better Than iPhone

Samsung employs many smart tactics to get celebs to swap their iPhones for the latest Galaxy.

Samsung employs many smart tactics to get celebs to swap their iPhones for the latest Galaxy. Photo: samsungtomorrow/Flickr

Samsung wants all the beautiful people to use its phones (and, probably more importantly, to be photographed using them). So how does the South Korean company get its latest, greatest smartphones into the hands of celebrities hooked on iPhones?

One method for getting Samsung gear into the manicured hands of Hollywood’s biggest stars is the company’s White Glove program, which smooths the way for the rich and powerful to make the big switch away from Apple’s shiny gadgets.

Fast Company offers a glimpse inside this rarefied world, interviewing Mitch Kanner, the so-called superconnector who schemed up Samsung’s “celebrity missionary program.” In addition to Kanner, reporter Shane Snow talks with movers and shakers who have been eased into the Samsung camp by the White Glove program’s combination of TupperWare-style parties, bags full of freebies and concierge-level handholding.

Snow even tells what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such kid-glove treatment, which is usually reserved for stars. Surprisingly, he points to Android’s widgets and other customization features as one of the key reasons high-profile users ultimately make the jump from Apple to Samsung.

“That’s how they get you,” Snow writes. “White Glove aims to show successful people that Samsung isn’t just ‘for the masses’ like [Steve] Jobs’s famed ‘I know what you want more than you know what you want’ devices would have you feel. The angle is not design or beauty, but ‘customizability.’ And, increasingly, ‘the new cool.'”

So, are Samsung and Android really “the new cool”? There’s a growing chorus of people questioning Apple’s ability to thrill users in a post-Jobs world, and even Steve Wozniak admitted Cupertino might be on the verge of losing its cool.

If Samsung is going to capture the “cool” crown from Apple, having an ever-expanding roster of hand-picked, high-profile evangelists certainly can’t hurt.

AMC Network President Charlie Collier says he got converted by a customized Galaxy phone and an 800 number that offered advice on how to make the most of the Samsung gear.

“They were incredibly respectful of my time,” Collier said of the White Glove operatives. “They took into account who they were targeting, and now I do what they desire, which is spread the word.”