Shortlisted 2017




Lead Agency


Contributing Company



The Challenge

Samsung wanted to use their global Olympics sponsorship to increase brand consideration and to become the #1 most digitally engaging brand of all Olympic sponsors throughout The Games.

Although Samsung was an official Olympic sponsor, they did not have a clear affinity to sports, which many of their fellow sponsors did. It was clear we would have to find a different approach that created an authentic and meaningful connection to the Olympics for the Samsung brand, for the platform to deliver on the objectives of driving brand consideration and digital

We discovered that for such a large global organisation people know surprisingly little about what the Samsung brand stands for – a brand that has a history in challenging conventions and defying barriers in technology and innovation. The Olympics provided the ideal platform to align the Samsung brand with the barrier-defying moments that the Olympics are so well loved for.

The Strategy

Rather than focus on sports we used sports as a lens to highlight barrier-defying moments and the real, human stories of the athletes. The stories that people would connect with and that reflect Samsung’s brand promise to continue defying barriers.
Our approach was not about the Usain Bolts and already famous teams of the sporting world. Instead we celebrated athletes who had faced adversity at every step of their journey but refused to give up, such as Tsepo Mathibelle – a
marathon runner from Lesotho who could barely afford protein to include in his diet. Although he finished last in the 2012 London Olympic Marathon, he gained worldwide respect and coverage of his story for refusing to quit the race.

Prior to the Games, we identified such potential barrier defying moments and scenario-planned around these moments, preparing responses to be executed if they happened. During the Games, we continued to identify stories and events that reflected our brand promise and published relevant content within minutes that was amplified with paid media support to drive scale.

The ability to build on existing conversations in an authentic way, whilst ensuring relevance to each country, platform and moment was critical to ensure the campaign achieved the objectives of business and communication success. Achieving success with this strategy required a high level of agility to create real-time reactive content on social media. Getting the right people in the room was crucial to enable lightning fast responses; the team of 32 included senior Samsung clients, lawyers, Publicis Media Content team members, sports content partners, strategists, analysts and creatives.

The Implementation

Tech, data and content partners allowed us to monitor huge volumes of social conversations, hashtag usage and sentiment. Based on this information, we tailored our content in real-time to the most engaging topics and moments.
For example; Rugby Sevens was back at the Olympics after a hundred-year hiatus and was generating buzz. We had already identified the barriers that Fijian athletes had to overcome such as never winning an Olympic medal before. Once they made the final, we created responses for each resulting scenario so as soon as Fiji won Gold we had ad units pushed live congratulating Fiji for overcoming their barriers across FB, TW and display.
And when NZ & US athletes Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino were praised for embodying Olympic spirit after they stopped to help each other up after falling together midway through their race we posted the message “Champions always pick themselves back up” to send the message that “defying barriers” isn’t only about winning.

A custom dashboard in Datorama allowed us to track and optimise ad-units in real-time. Our DMP also enabled us to retarget our most engaged audience across the web using dynamic display units which pulled in the latest tweets from our feed and enabled people to like or retweet them instantly.

In times when the live events didn’t have a stand-out story of “defying barriers” rather than just go dark we used preprepared content featuring athletes like the marathon runner, Tsepo Mathibelle that were inspiring and relevant to our campaign.

The Result

Our approach allowed us to react to barrier defying moments at speed and scale, keeping Samsung at the top of people’s newsfeeds for the 16 days of the Olympics.

Brand consideration rose by 9%, and 60% of people said they were likely to purchase Samsung the next time they bought a mobile device vs 54% for our competitor (Source: OnDevice).

Throughout the 16 days of the Olympics we delivered 390 million engagements across 8 countries with 1 in 10 people who were exposed to our communications engaging with them (by liking or retweet instantly).

Our hashtag #DoWhatYouCant was mentioned 60,000 times, the most of all sponsors – beating Coke (42,000) and P&G (25,000). (source: Brandwatch Media Monitoring)

We were recognised by the media and our peers as the top Olympics sponsor of 2016, dominating headlines globally. Numerous media outlets including Marketing Week, PR Week and AdAge proclaimed Samsung as the most talked about brand of Rio 2016 beating Coke, P&G and VISA.