Samsung removes “Z” branding in Ukraine and other European countries

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the resulting war has undeniably caused changes in how some companies go about their business, with others suspending their operations in Russia altogether. Samsung is the latest company to quietly tweak its marketing strategy.

In a few European countries, namely Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, the South Korean company has dropped the ‘Z’ branding in their foldables line-up. In the aforementioned countries’ regional websites, the ‘Z’ which normally appears after the Galaxy name, has been dropped, leaving only the names Galaxy Fold 3 or Galaxy Flip 3.

The company has not yet put out an official statement regarding the unexpected change, but it is speculated that it is related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. How the above countries were also selected is also still unknown, as other neighbouring European markets like Poland still have the Z branding on their Galaxy foldable line-up.

According to serial leaker Ishan Agarwal, the change is supposedly more extensive than simply dropping the Z branding from the countries’ websites. Agarwal says that new retail boxes have also been printed.

For the rest of the world, however, including Russia, the Z branding is still present on the regional websites and also other marketing materials like ads and billboards. This begs the question of whether it is only a temporary change Samsung is making and will revert to the Z branding for the foldables once the war is over.

The South Korean company earlier this month stopped the sales of its products in Russia to show solidarity with Ukraine. The shipment of Samsung smartphones and other chips to Russia has also been suspended.

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The letter ‘Z’  is drawing controversy from different quarters because the Russian Ministry of Defence posted that the “Z” symbol is an abbreviation of the phrase “for victory” while the “V” symbol stands for “our strength is in truth“.  They are however not the only symbols being used by Russia for their propaganda.

Since then, these symbols, especially the letter ‘Z’ have been used in pro-Russian campaigns and can also be seen spray-painted on the side of Russian military vehicles as well as on social media.

To distance its brands from being wrongly associated with Russian propaganda, Samsung has decided to quietly remove the branding from the neighbouring countries.

It is interesting that the Z branding was not associated with the foldables from the start. The Galaxy Fold 5G for instance launched without the letter. The Z was nowhere to be seen until the second generation of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 where it was added on its debut.

Samsung normally uses letters to determine the series a phone belongs to with ‘A’ being more budget-oriented for instance and the ‘S’ indicating the flagship series. For foldables this feels redundant as the name Flip or Fold already indicates the class the phone belongs in.

Dropping the ‘Z’ might end up being a temporary thing, but Galaxy Fold 3 instead of Galaxy Z Fold 3 feels simple and straightforward. It will be interesting to see which direction Samsung takes once they announce the fourth generation of the foldables sometime this year.

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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