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TV and Movies

Gutsy Samsung scheme will 'turn off' millions of TVs

Prepare for panic as television viewers believe their beloved sets are busted by a Samsung ad in disguise.

Samsung's Ambient Mode is a like having a big screen saver in your living room.


You're watching The Simpsons. Ha, ha, that's so funny! Time for a commercial break. Static spits across your screen and it goes dark. You scramble for the remote, but it does nothing. The power button on the TV doesn't help. Dread sets in. And then you discover your broken TV is just an ad. 

Samsung is launching a #TVblackout campaign this weekend that could impact millions of UK viewers across multiple networks during their favorite programs, including The Simpsons, Coronation Street, First Dates and the Champions League final.

The first 20-second ad starts with simulated static and interference and then goes to a black screen for an excruciating six seconds. 

Text scrolls on screen reading, "This is your TV screen … most of the time; a void full of nothing." It then promotes Samsung's QLED television technology and its Ambient Mode, which lets the set blend with its surroundings or display content or photos. 

Samsung knows exactly what it's doing, saying the advert is "designed to trick viewers into thinking their devices have been turned off leaving nothing but a blank screen."

Brace yourself, UK. The campaign starts on Friday and will continue for 10 days across 18 channels. Samsung estimates it will freak out 49 million viewers. 

As the marketing stunt ramps up, you could see a longer 30-second spot featuring eight seconds of nothingness. It will even infiltrate certain theaters prior to some showings of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

What makes this ad a relatively gutsy marketing move is that Samsung may have to weather a backlash from viewers who believe their TVs actually crapped out in the middle of Coronation Street. If this happened in the US during the Super Bowl, there would be fires in the streets.