Viral Marketing and the Samsung Safety Truck

“Doing well by doing good” is a cliché. But like many such overused phrases in marketing and advertising, just because “doing well by doing good” is a cliché doesn’t mean it’s untrue. Samsung’s recent initiative to lower road fatalities in Argentina, and the corresponding “Samsung Safety Truck” video, is a good example.

With hundreds of one-lane roads, Argentina has extremely high road casualties – one person per hour dies in a traffic accident there, according to some sources. And 80% of the accidents supposedly happen on roads where drivers are trying to pass vehicles. Add big-rig trucks to the mix of vehicles jockeying for position on a narrow road and (cliché alert) you have a recipe for disaster.

So ad agency Leo Burnett developed the Samsung Safety Truck for its client’s Argentinian corporate office to promote road safety. The idea behind the Samsung Safety Truck is to make a big rig “invisible” to the vehicle traveling behind it: Four outdoor monitors (complete with night-vision mode) on the back of the truck display the feed from a built-in wireless camera on the vehicle’s front. The driver sees the road ahead rather than the truck. No more darting to the left and guessing when it’s safe to overtake the big rig.

Critics have pointed that 1) Samsung simply wants to sell more of its products, and that 2) big rigs tend to get very dirty, very quickly. Well, yes, a business is in business to… do business. Which is why, when a company “does good,” its marketing folks have ready-made content for traditional and online marketing. The informational video about the Samsung Safety Truck has more than 2.6 million views since June.

As for the practicality of keeping the trucks clean… Ever notice how bright and shiny those tanker trucks carrying milk are?! I hope U.S. trucking companies start (more cliché!) jumping on the Safety Truck bandwagon.