Samsung and Leo Burnett have worked together since 2005, when the shop replaced FCB as Samsung’s global agency. The Publicis Groupe agency has expanded its scope and markets consistently since then.
Length of Relationship
Leo Burnett stepped into a challenging situation with a rapidly changing Korean company, which in the past had relied on their minority-owned Chaebol agency, Cheil, Korea’s largest. From the beginning, it was a challenging brief for the Leo Burnett team – they had to offer improved creativity, but at rates competitive to those of Cheil, and with the speed that Samsung’s business deserved.
Samsung has a matrix structure with GMO, a central marketing group, overseeing agency relationships globally, and regional HQ’s (RHQ’s) set up in New York, Beijing, Moscow, Sao Paolo, London, Delhi, Dubai and Singapore. In addition, Samsung has Global Business Management teams (GBM’s) leading mobile, visual display, home appliances etc. Leo Burnett’s challenge was to build support teams at the right level, and from a central hub in their Chicago office. One critical area of success was for social media, with the agency established dedicated Samsung resources in key markets to supply content leadership.
The agency has significantly raised the bar on the quality of strategy and thinking over the last 11 years. From their initial work for mobile, this has expanded to more than 1,000 global projects on an annual basis. Recent highlights include the first-ever Samsung TVC for the visually impaired in 2015, and in 2016, an iconic Olympic campaign celebrating Margret Rumat Rumar Hassan, the 19-year-old 400-meter runner from South Sudan who represented that country’s first-ever Olympic athlete, entitled “The Chant.”
Few partnerships have been as fruitful as this one. In 2016, Samsung was named the Cannes Advertiser of the Year, something unimaginable eleven years ago when the relationship started. The 2016 Leo Burnett Olympic campaign was voted as the most well-liked for the entire Olympics. Leo Burnett successfully defended their business in a global review (led by R3) in 2014. Samsung is now one of the top ten brands in the Interbrand Global Brand study – moving up from outside the top 100 a decade ago.