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Mixed reception for Samsung US TV ad featuring Lorde's 'Royals'

A new Samsung US TV commercial featuring Lorde's "Royals" has had a mixed reception.

The ad features a street urchin singing the Kiwi songstress' hit while spying on soccer star Lionel Messi. 

It's all in the aid of pushing the Korean company's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch/Galaxy Note 3 smartphone combo.

Tech site The Verge sniffs "Samsung doesn't understand Lorde's 'Royals,' uses it to advertise the Galaxy Note 3 to street urchins." It goes on to complain Lorde's song rejects ostentatious materialism, but is being used to sell and expensive gadgets. (Samsung's take is that "Royals" and Messi's urban renewal projects are both about overcoming humble beginnings and adversity. In Messi's case he's using a little technology to help fight urban blight).

Advertising industry bible Ad Week was more generous, making the clip its Ad of the Day. Ad Week's Tim Nudd writes:

The spot has a nice, dark vibe, great cinematography and impressive attention to detail. Paco Delgado, who was the costume designer for the film version of Les Misérables, created the costumes.

But more than anything, it's the music that gives the spot its power. It might seem like an odd song for any commercial—the lyrics suggest a disdain for lavish celebrity culture and conspicuous consumption, in which advertising is always implicated. (It seems Lorde does want a bit of money after all.) But it's an undeniably great track—and a coup for Samsung to have landed it first.

For Lorde - who co-wrote "Royals" with producer Joel Little - it's a case of any publicity is good publicity, with the 16-year-old Aucklander holding number one of the Billboard chart for another week.

Comments and questions

So what is the point of having a watch with *&%# battery life that needs to be accompanied with a phone in order to work properly?