Samsung’s use of street kids in ad for smartwatch draws criticism

Samsung’s latest ad in the US features FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi and a chorus of singing street children. The children sing the hit song ‘Royals’ by New Zealand singer Lorde, as Messi uses the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Galaxy Note 3 phone to destroy an old building and turn it into a soccer stadium for the kids.

The spot has attracted some criticism, with Quartz writer Zachary Seward writing a scathing review of the commercial saying: “The idea that Samsung’s very expensive electronics are going to lift these kids out of poverty – or even brighten their day, if that’s the point – is just offensive.”

Seward also points out the irony of the song scoring the ad, writing: “Samsung makes things worse by scoring the ad with ‘Royals’, the hit by New Zealand teenager Lorde. As The Verge points out, the song is about growing up poor and realising that life is about more than the spoils of affluence. It’s dissing people who value things like smartphones and shiny soccer fields. This verse actually insults fancy watches:

But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don’t care. We aren’t caught up in your love affair.”

The spot has already had almost 500,000 views on YouTube since being uploaded on Wednesday.