Samsung to Launch Juke Cellphone

NEW YORK Samsung will launch its new “Juke” cellphone this week with a massive ad campaign set to the strains of Foreigner’s “Jukebox Hero.”

The phone, available through Verizon Wireless, offers two gigabytes of memory capable of storing roughly 500 MP3 downloads. “It’s a phone for high school kids and college students who are tired of carrying around two devices and don’t have a lot of money,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Ovum, Boston.

The fact the Juke carries as much music as an iPod Nano doesn’t necessarily make it an iPhone killer, but it does give parents an alternative that might pacify their kids. At $99, it is a quarter of the price of the iPhone.

Samsung could use a hit. The Korean electronics maker reported a 2 percent decline in profits for its most recent quarter, the fourth in a row that its profits have been in decline. Analysts blame Samsung’s slumping global computer chip business as well as the ever-shrinking margins in categories like HDTVs, computers and cell phones.

The Juke looks like an MP3 player, but is spring-loaded like a switchblade to slide open. Marketing will position it as the modern-day jukebox. “We heard, ‘Oh, it’s like a little jukebox.’ We assumed the younger generation didn’t even know what a jukebox was,” said Kirk Heinlein, general manager of Samsung agency Cheil Communications.

Leveraging this insight, TV ads show labels found inside a typical jukebox; only instead of a song and band name they read “Juke” and “Samsung.” They will run throughout the fourth quarter everywhere from CSI to the CW. Print ads show the Juke in the place of a stylus playing a 45 record. It will run in magazines including Rolling Stone and OK! At, amateur musicians will be invited to vie for $10,000 and the chance to be part of a consumer-generated online jukebox.

Samsung spent $60 million on marketing its phones in 2006 and said the Juke initiative would be the largest of its kind.