What Is This Amazing Samsung Ad Trying to Tell Us?

Why do you think Samsung made this nearly 2-minute commercial of young people riding their bikes, talking to strangers, meeting new friends (and, of course, using every single Samsung device on the planet)? (Also getting wet and suddenly dry again. But I digress.)

Is the idea to appeal to young people dreaming of such freedom? Nostalgic adults dreaming of their youth? Is Free-Ranging something that BOTH generations long for and just aren’t sure how to get back, so it’s like a fantasy? Or is it on the cusp of a new reality?

In other words, is the ad instructional, representational or mythical?




Yes, we are demographically perfect. But how lovely to see!

Yes, we are demographically perfect. But we are also out on our OWN! Thanks, Samsung.

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28 Responses to What Is This Amazing Samsung Ad Trying to Tell Us?

  1. Arlington Mom November 16, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Wow! Its encouraging for sure. The kids aren’t bogged down with sports, homework and scheduled activities being shuttled around in cars. They roam until it gets dark. I think we all wish we were there in that commercial, kids and adults.

  2. pentamom November 16, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    I think it’s magical realism — not totally detached from realistic limits, like mythology, but incorporating some unrealistic elements. I think generally, it’s supposed to be relatable, like kids really CAN do all this stuff and life can be like this, but Samsung adds an element of “magic” to everyday experiences.


  3. BL November 16, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    “and, of course, using every single Samsung device on the planet”

    When is it going to dawn on people that they’re taking more pictures than anyone will ever want to look at?

    (We probably passed that point back in the days of Instamatics, when the number of pictures taken was several orders of magnitude less than today. But it’s soooo flaming obvious now …)

  4. lollipoplover November 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    It’s telling us Samsung is targeting Apple/iPhone customers and a younger demographic that was raised on iPods and iPads and not Android.

    Good for them! We have a love/hate relationship with Apple products.
    My teens love them, I hate them.
    I hate that they are fragile (unless you buy a $100 bullet-proof case to protect them),overpriced, and have battery/charging problems. They love them for Facetime (makes group projects easier) and music and for taking too many stupid pictures.

    How nice to see this type of adventure among teens. Don’t care what they are selling, it’s just heartening to see this play out as a “perfect day”. I had fun days like this as a teen, but we didn’t take nonstop photos and videos like those darn kids today!

  5. Christine Arango November 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    LOVE THIS! Thanks, Samsung! And thanks for showing the kids talking with each other and other humans.

  6. Andy Harris November 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Awesome, sez I!

  7. James November 16, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    a nice little film, and great to see the total absence of adult supervision. I also liked the one kid riding standing up on back of the other kid’s bike, and the depiction of New York as a fun, cool, and safe place for kids (which happens to be true).

  8. BL November 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    “the depiction of New York as a fun, cool, and safe place for kids (which happens to be true).”

    New York? I wish there was much more of this in small towns. At least there’s some of this going on.

  9. Mandy November 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    The kids in this ad are teenagers and are supposed to be out roaming like this! Why is this so surprising?

  10. Larissa Gilbert November 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I love the idea that it might be instructional! I imagine the creator behind it being a parent and desperate for the world to be like this for his or her kids. I want to think that we are being told, “look, we have all of these ways to communicate with them, ways for them to seek help, ways to track them. They’re safe. Let them go.”

  11. SteveD November 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Great video! It can encourage similar behavior.

    Take a look the power of watching “filmed behavior” and what should probably be used more often in schools.

    From the book:


    “The powerful influence of filmed examples in changing the behavior of children can be used as therapy for various other problems. Some striking evidence is available in the research of psychologist Robert O’Connor (1972) on socially withdrawn preschool children. We have all seen children of this sort: terribly shy, standing alone at the fringes of the games and groupings of their peers.

    “O’Connor worried that this early behavior was the beginning of what could become a long-term pattern of isolation, which in turn could create persistent difficulties in social comfort and adjustment throughout adulthood.

    “In an attempt to reverse the pattern, O’Connor made a film containing 11 different scenes in a nursery-school setting. Each scene began by showing a different solitary child watching some social activity and then actively participating, to everyone’s enjoyment. O’Connor selected a group of the most severely withdrawn children from four preschools and showed them this film. The impact was impressive.

    “After watching the film, the isolates immediately began to interact with their peers at a level equal to that of the normal children in the schools. Even more astonishing was what O’Connor found when he returned to the schools six weeks later to observe. While the withdrawn children who had not seen O’Connor’s film remained
    as isolated as ever, those who had viewed it were now leading their schools in amount of social activity. It seems that this 23-minute movie, viewed just once, was enough to reverse a potential pattern of lifelong maladaptive behavior. Such is the potency of the principle of social proof.”

  12. lollipoplover November 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Seeing kids ride double on bikes and navigating and commuting on their own…I so wish this was still the norm and more commonplace. It’s still out there though.
    Reminds me of this, back when I grew up (down to the Snoopy Iunchbox!):


    Does anyone else miss banana seats? And back seats of station wagons as play areas?

  13. Jane November 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Oh gosh, the kid standing on the rear bike wheel could have fallen off and gotten hurt! They could have gotten germs from sitting on the sidewalk to eat pizza – and no hand sanitizer in sight! A van might have swooped by and they could have been abducted!

    And so on…

  14. pentamom November 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    The old guy could have infected the 3D viewer with magic grooming powder!

  15. fred schueler November 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    one of the free-range things my parents taught me was never to pay any heed to advertising

  16. Curious November 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    Is it a throw-back to the age before institutionalized paranoia swept the country?
    I think so.
    Who originated all those lies? Why did we fail to fact check?
    Some things never change!

  17. Kirsten November 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    I don’t know, but I love it! I think they are deliberately making a play for the incipient (dare I say it?) *trend* to want more freedom for kids?

    Though my first thought in the first 2 seconds was, “They’re trying to capitalize on the TV show Strange Things.” It has a very similar feel, and I think maybe the show evoked a real longing in both the adults and the young people who have watched that show for how things used to be. I’ve heard teenagers who watched that show (set in 1983) say how much they wish their lives could be like the young adolescents in the show with all their freedom. (I’m starting to sound like I work for the show, so I’ll quit here.)

  18. Papilio November 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    All I see is normal teen life, but in an American setting. It saddens me that you think of this as magical and unrealistic (except for the gazillion expensive Samsung devices and that total lack of other (car!) traffic), because this (mucking about on bikes, hanging out downtown) is very close to how many Dutch teens spend their afternoons.

  19. Kenny M Felder November 16, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    That is so cool! I want to say–perhaps somewhat cynically–that they are trying to reassure me that I can give all this electronic crap to my kids and they won’t all turn into couch potatoes. But even there, the positive spin is, they’re suggesting that life lived outside–bicycling on the street, talking to strangers, and not telling Mom where you are–is better than life on the couch. Full marks for that!!!

  20. BL November 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    @Kenny N Felder
    “they are trying to reassure me that I can give all this electronic crap to my kids and they won’t all turn into couch potatoes”

    Well, this electronic crap is SUPPOSED to be “mobile”, is it not?

    At least with the kids in the Samsung ad, it actually is.

  21. Andy November 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    By the way, these kids are all over my childhood stomping grounds. Nostalgia!

  22. Cinnamon November 16, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    That’s how I grew up in Germany, 1960’s early 70’s

  23. sexhysteria November 17, 2016 at 4:03 am #

    I’m sold on Samsung after this ad!

  24. AlanaM November 17, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    It is real for my son. He is 14 and when the days are longer, he often spends most of the day out somewhere with a number of friends. They are on bikes and skateboards, boys and girls. He takes his camera and tripod and records what they do and puts some on Instagram. We have a community pool and he will be down there all day with friends and end up at the local shopping center McDonalds afterwards.

  25. lollipoplover November 17, 2016 at 1:36 pm #


    It’s real for my teens too, though a more suburbanized version replacing local pizza joint with Chipolte outdoor seating and NO skateboarding laws in town center. We do have local pools and rec areas with courts that attract flocks of kids routinely. Town had First Fridays for awhile with live music and specials but locals complained of too many kids and that stopped. The kids still go there most Fridays and the merchants appreciate their business.

    I just saw this on Facebook and I thought of these Samsung kids and their confidence:


    Is anyone else bothered by the “I am HERE, you are SAFE”?
    So when parent isn’t there…is child UNSAFE?

  26. Tim Gill November 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    Intriguing. Encouraging, assuming it’s aimed at a US audience. It seems the outdoors and everyday freedoms are coming back into fashion – at least amongst affluent teenagers. If they were all five years younger that would really shake things up, no?

  27. BL November 18, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    “We have a community pool and he will be down there all day with friends and end up at the local shopping center McDonalds afterwards.”

    Good start.

    Next they can ditch the McDonald’s, get some fresh food at a farmer’s market (or even a decent grocery store) and make some simple stuff from scratch together.

  28. Tom November 21, 2016 at 4:19 am #

    Now all the American teenagers can buy this kind of freedom, and use it safely at their parents home! Ironically the software on all these devices is (mostly) non-free (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software).