Following the Oscars' announcement of Emma Stone's Best Actress win last night, Samsung held an awards ceremony of its own, in a new spot that shows filmmaker Casey Neistat stepping up to the mic to deliver an "acceptance speech" on behalf of another kind of creative community -- makers who don't have huge production budgets and resources, but create with little more than drive, their phones and duct tape.
Created out of Wieden & Kennedy Portland and with Mr. Neistat, the ad posed a striking contrast to the glamour and gloss of Hollywood's biggest night of the year. Mr. Neistat, known for his renegade, independent filmmaking on social media, wears a tux, but he stands in the middle of a wet parking lot in the dead of night. Throughout, the spot cuts in raw, joyful images of other creators at work. "Allow me to introduce the rest of us," he says. "We're the makers, the directors and the creators of this generation .... We know it's not the size of the production that matters, it's what we make."
According to Samsung USA Chief Creative Office Jesse Coulter, the Oscars spot kicks off Samsung's new brand platform "Do What You Can't," which will roll out over multiple channels. "This is just the beginning of something we're committed to for the long term," he said. "Our goal is to ultimately empower people. If the phone in your pocket can do anything, so can you."
In aligning Samsung with the creative set, the spot also marks a sharp turn from Samsung Mobile ads of the past, which have largely highlighted specific features. Last year's Oscars advertising, for example, featured big-name celebrities like William H. Macy, Wesley Snipes and Lil' Wayne pondering phone attributes such as battery life and memory:
The campaign is one step in the brand's attempt to regain the trust of its consumers, following the disastrous recall of the brand's Galaxy Note 7, which has left a stain on the brand and had a major negative impact on Samsung business.
Other Samsung Oscars spots described the company's product testing as rigorous.
"I believe that we have a great opportunity to deepen our relationships with people," Mr. Coulter said. "There will be a focus on regaining people's trust through quality innovation and engaging them in a two-way dialogue. We also have exciting upcoming product launches, all anchored in placing the human - as opposed to product -- first."
The decision to run the ad during the Academy Awards was very deliberate, with a direct nod to those who wouldn't necessarily be found in the seats of the Hollywood theater that night. "The Oscars represent the pinnacle of celebrating filmmakers, making it the ideal backdrop showcase this spot and acknowledge the other incredible makers, creators and directors of this generation that may not have otherwise been celebrated," Mr. Coulter said. "We specifically wanted to celebrate, acknowledge and inspire this generation of makers, creators and directors; those use creativity and technology everyday to share their ideas."
Mr. Neistat has worked with Samsung on previous ads, but this was the first time he has stepped in front of the camera for the client. "Casey embodies everything the DWYC brand campaign aims to represent," said Mr. Coulter. "He went from unexpected teen father living in a trailer to building one of the most influential audiences across social and then starting/selling a tech company to CNN. He has rebelled in the best sense of the word, defying barriers all along the way. The Oscars felt like the perfect place to give him the stage to shine a light on the many creators and makers like him that inspire Samsung to innovate."