The Deconstructed Brief

Do What You Can't

Do What You Can't

Brand: Samsung 

Agency: Widen+Kennedy Portland


  • Relaunch Samsung Mobile as a tool of the digital creative class 


Take advantage of Hollywood’s biggest night to celebrate the type of makers, creators and directors who aren’t at the Oscars. Rebuild trust in the Samsung brand by aligning with authentic creative passion.

One Thought:

You can do anything with a Samsung phone.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Pick the right celebrity. In 2016, Samsung’s Oscar ad featured traditional big-name celebrities William H. Macy, Lil’ Wayne and Wesley Snipes. This year’s ad started with narration from filmmaker/vlogger Casey Neistat, who has over 6.5 million subscribers on YouTube. Neistat embodies the authenticity of a self-made internet creative. (He also rose to fame by exposing problems with iPhones.)
  • Focus on beliefs, not features. The new ads are a departure for Samsung, which has typically focused on technological features like resistance to water and camera specs. The goal for the new ad is about empowering people — a more emotionally persuasive message.
  • Take a side. In 2017, your choice in technology says something about your personality. (Are you “practically magic” like Apple’s wireless earbubs, for example?) The narration in the Samsung ad creates a simple “us vs. them” dichotomy. On Samsung’s side: youth, grit and ingenuity. The other side is implied: old, expensive and boring.

What they told Ad Age:

“I believe that we have a great opportunity to deepen our relationship with people,” said Samsung USA Chief Creative Officer Jesse Coulter. “There will be a focus on regaining people’s trust through quality innovation and engaging them in a two-way dialogue.”