Winner 2021

Brand & Media Owner Partnership


Samsung Galaxy A Series phone

Entered by:

Starcom (US & UK)


R/GA, Wieden & Kennedy, TikTok

Samsung #danceAwesome

The Challenge

Samsung’s purpose is to create human-driven innovations that help people express themselves and bring us closer together. When Samsung wanted to connect with a new audience – Gen Z – we needed a like-minded partner. We found that partner in TikTok – an emerging (at that time), user-led video platform, ready to join forces on a ground-breaking campaign that consumers would want to co-create with us.  Having the right partner was critical, as the smartphone category has peaked. Sales are stagnant and there is growing belief that new generation, high-end smartphone capabilities just don’t justify the cost.

Samsung wanted to compete in seven global markets (United Kingdom, Germany, France, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand) among Gen Z – a new audience prioritizing cost – but competitors like Huawei & Oppo already had more appeal to this audience with affordable devices, rendering Samsung’s mid-tier Galaxy A Series phone vulnerable.  While the brand needed to drive Galaxy A desire and ultimately purchase intent with Gen Z, we realized our real challenge to appeal to Gen Z meant we needed to cut the bullsh$t.

The Creative Solution

Gen Z knows pandering when they see it – and they will rip your brand to shreds. The most painful recent example being Peloton’s Holiday campaign featuring a husband body-shaming his wife, a massive marketing snafu famous for missing the cultural mark so badly across all age groups, that it inspired user generated parodies that will likely live on in infamy. The lesson? Even if you don’t intend to UGC your brand, Gen Z will shape it how they want and share, infinitely.

Gen Z likes brands that cut through the cr@p and natively help them create amplified versions of themselves, how they want and where they want. And, at the time, the newest and fastest growing space Gen Z wanted to express themselves was TikTok.

Our solution was to win over Gen Z on their native platforms using a no-bullsh$t approach.

We devised a campaign that romanced three Galaxy A product benefits, designed inherently for the TikTok generation: “Awesome Screen. Awesome Camera. Long Lasting Battery Life.”

This wasn’t just a tagline. It was the chorus to our original, custom Galaxy A song, music video and dance routine performed by world-famous K-Pop band BLACKPINK, featured in the brand’s commercials. Catchy and addictive, the song was specifically designed for social video and to lift onto Gen Z’s newest platform of choice, TikTok.

We turned the song and dance into a challenge video featuring BLACKPINK to get Gen Z moving to the three product benefits. Then, we devised the first ever global hashtag challenge on TikTok from a brand.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

We launched our challenge video on TikTok and natively leveraged other social platforms popular with Gen Z (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snap) to gain awareness of the initiative and drive users in-app, bringing scale to the platform. By overlaying demo and interest-based targeting – including K-Pop and entertainment passions, we ring-fenced an engaged audience who were most likely to respond.  Each of the four BLACKPINK members were filmed individually on Galaxy A phones performing the #danceAwesome dance, so fans could film their TikTok as a duet with any band member. For those needing some help with their moves, we released a series of how-to tutorials on YouTube with Gen Z-relevant choreographers and BLACKPINK’s backup dancers.

We then organized a mix of global and locally focused influencers – including Millie Bobby Brown – and had them pick up the moves, creating and amplifying their own interpretations in video form which we reshared across Instagram and Snapchat, driving users back to TikTok to engage. And, our TikTok challenge and UGC took off as the newest dance craze for Gen Z to show off their creativity.

The Result

The highly creative environment on TikTok inspired the cross-agency and client team to let go of established assumptions and truly experiment with consumers – allowing the creative energy and imagination of this partnership to take the Samsung Galaxy A Series to new heights.

Our no bullsh$t approach resulted in nearly 5 Million pieces of UGC being created and shared using interpretations of our song and dance, all of which touted the Galaxy A’s three main product benefits. This ultimately drove a 15% increase in purchase intent and a 35% increase in favourability. Our hashtag challenge garnered over 14 Billion video views (43% of which were organic), increased Galaxy A social conversation by 19x, and lifted search volume 5x^^. Plus, we grew the brand’s TikTok community from 0 to 699 thousand followers.

With an inspiration and a canvas on the hottest social platform – Gen Z freely expressed themselves while organically developing an affinity with the Galaxy A Series. Relying on 3 catchy phrases and UGC (user-generated content) was a departure from Samsung’s typical, product/feature led launch messaging. But with the shared commitment and trust between TikTok, the agencies and Samsung, we were able to develop a pioneering UGC activation that delivered strong business results. The internal and external impact was dramatic and has set a benchmark for how to win emerging audiences for years to come.