4A's Conference

That Selfie, Spontaneity and Youth: Samsung's CMO at 4A's Transformation

Todd Pendleton on Moving Quickly and Keeping Up

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Samsung has been making a habit of devising and executing marketing ideas as quickly as possible, Samsung CMO Todd Pendleton said at the 4A's Transformation conference on Wednesday. When the marketing group announced the upcoming introduction of the Galaxy S5 phone, for example, the company watched the reaction from consumers and media before starting on a campaign -- even though the work would need to be in market just weeks later.

The process was similar the morning after the Oscars, where Ellen DeGeneres generated the selfie seen 'round the world using a Samsung phone, according to Mr. Pendleton, a young 40-something who took the stage in red sneakers and a trendy jacket.

"The next morning I was in the shower and said we're going to do a donation," he said. "I called my boss and within minutes we made it happen." Samsung donated $3 million -- for the photo's 3 million-plus retweets -- to charities of Ellen's choice.

Samsung tries to be as flexible when it comes to agencies. "The way we work with all agencies is the best idea always wins," Mr. Pendleton said during the session. "It doesn't matter where it comes from. We center all marketing activities around that idea."

Mr. Pendleton joined Ad Age for a video interview to chat more about how the selfie success impacted his thinking about Samsung marketing, how his team thinks about data and what it's like being a young marketer targeting a young audience.

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