The first trailer for Exposure — the upcoming, Samsung-branded reality TV show from Hulu that’s one part photography competition, one part Galaxy S21 Ultra advertisement — is here. But for a show that’s been paid for by Samsung explicitly to highlight the power of the cameras on Samsung’s phones, it’s almost suspiciously light on Samsung branding.
If you just gave Exposure a cursory glance (or, more likely, stumbled across it on Hulu one night) there’s nothing about it that immediately betrays its status as Samsung branded content. There’s no Samsung logo on the title card, no mention of the Galaxy S21 Ultra or its 108-megapixel camera system, or the various software add-ons that help Samsung’s smartphone stand out from the rest.
In fact, Exposure’s trailer just gives the impression of being a photography-centered competition series, like The Great British Baking Show or Chopped. Look more closely, of course, and the cracks start to show. A photography contest without any DSLRs or mirrorless cameras? Why doesn’t anyone have a bag full of lenses or a holster with a secondary shooter handy? And yes, I suppose all the contestants do appear to be using the same phone, now that you mention it.
Which is, of course, the point: Exposure is, after all, still meant to highlight the S21 Ultra’s camera — even if its trailer isn’t exactly shoving that fact in your face. This either makes it the subtlest and best piece of branded content ever, or the worst.
It’s possible that Exposure will lean more heavily on its Samsung pedigree in the actual series itself; reality TV isn’t exactly known for its subtlety even in the most ordinary of circumstances.
But there is the chance that the limitations of only using Samsung’s latest smartphone could add some interesting wrinkles to the show. Any trained photographer that’s good enough to make it to Exposure’s level can almost certainly take great photos with their own equipment.
But by introducing a common variable (the S21 Ultra’s hardware, for better and for worse), the show can theoretically be about who can use that specific tool the best with things like staging, lighting, and editing; similar to how cooking shows tend to make contestants work within the limitations of the dish or ingredients of the week, rather than just making the thing that they’re most comfortable preparing.
We’ll find out when Exposure arrives on Hulu on April 26th.