Samsung’s Pio Schunker, Turner Duckworth’s David Turner, Leo Burnett’s Mark Tutssel and R/GA’s Nick Law

How famous five joined forces to change the face of Samsung

Cannes Lions delegates were introduced to the future of marketing yesterday in the form of a radical and unlikely partnership between five agencies designed to transform the fortunes of global brand Samsung.

Pio Schunker, senior vice-president, global head integrated marketing, mobile communications, Samsung, told the Cannes Lions Daily News that the story began in 2015 when he was charged with turning a faceless technology brand into a human, lifestyle-centred brand. His response was to create a “team of rivals” consisting of Leo Burnett, R/GA, Turner Duckworth, Ogilvy and Cheil.

Each agency was handed a distinct brief, but required to work collaboratively: “We were trying to achieve a very different result with the brand, so we had to approach it in different way,” said Schunker. “We’re still in the process of humanising the brand but what we have seen is that this approach has enabled us to scale out so much faster compared to other brand journeys. We’ve reach a point in 18 months that might have taken us four years with a more traditional approach.”


A possible response from agencies in this situation might be to try and poach work from each other or treat the brief as an attenuated beauty parade. But Leo Burnett Worldwide global chief creative officer Mark Tutssel told the Lumiere session entitled How Radical Collaboration Can Rapidly Reshape A Global Brand: “It hasn’t been dog eat dog because all the agencies involved have been properly remunerated for their work. And there has been a lot of curation on Pio’s part. He’s been at the coalface with us, making decisions in real-time. What we actually found is that this raised the creative bar and motivated us to push harder.”


R/GA’s core role in the mix has been to drive digital strategy. Vice-chairman and global chief creative officer Nick Law said the kind of “agile thinking” demonstrated by Samsung is in line with the new age of disrupted marketing communication. Of the process, he said it was “a true democracy of disciplines”.

Turner Duckworth played a pivotal role in developing a design template for the agencies to work with. Co-founder David Turner said “the origin of the Samsung brand is about pushing against complacency, and what we have never had in this process is complacency. When you work with agencies like these you continually have to re-earn your place in the team.”

Samsung’s creative work during the Rio 2016 Olympics was a key discussion point during the session. In the week McDonalds withdrew from its partnership with the Games, Schunker said the Olympics remains core to Samsung’s strategic thinking “especially with our new brand position. From a cultural standpoint, it’s a massive opportunity to talk to the world.”




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