In A Subdued Ad Olympics, Can Samsung Take Gold?

In A Subdued Ad Olympics, Can Samsung Take Gold?


An Olympic sponsorship usually means blockbuster advertising from brands who’ve paid millions for the opportunity. As with so many other aspects of life, though, these Olympics are different, and big brands have been cautious about how far to promote their involvement with a Games that takes place under the long shadow of Covid-19.

Now the Games are underway, though, and stories of heroism and heartbreak fill news channels, celebratory adverts look like a smarter bet. But they still have to hit the right emotional note for an unusual games, and in Test Your Ad a lot of brands have fallen well short of their personal bests.

Samsung, though, has managed to get the tone spot-on with its ad, made with agency The Community. The theme of the ad is connection – the way sport can bring the world together. But in 2021, it’s far harder to get together and enjoy that connection. Fortunately, Samsung devices can bridge those gaps and help people feel like they are there in Tokyo.

It’s not a new idea for a telecoms brand – in fact, ads stressing connection have been a big theme of the pandemic era. So the magic has to be in the execution and the stories Samsung tells. The ad switches between a commuter watching a 100m final remotely, a wheelchair basketball athlete, and then British Olympic skateboarder Sky Brown, the UK’s youngest ever competitor at a Games. Brown’s texting her Dad back home is what grounds the ad emotionally and gives it a heartwarming ending, turning a montage into a story. But the ad has already scored points for visual excitement – and well done Samsung for not ignoring the Paralympics, as too many brands have been doing.

The ad scores a strong 4.2-Star and excellent short-term Spike and Brand Fluency scores. Those aren’t blockbuster scores but they’re very good and in the upper tier of sports ads in general, never mind the Olympics. This ad isn’t going to break any world records – but in a cautious field its committed emotional performance might well be enough to take gold.



Creative agency credit: The Community