Week 145 (16 - 22 July 2016)

"Proud sponsor of a world without barriers" is the tagline which accompanies Samsung's marquee Olympic Games advert for Rio 2016, released on Thursday this week.

In choosing such bold words in advertising of any sort, a company can run the risk of seeming disingenuous, and even crude. The public well knows that companies sponsor sports events in order to promote their brand to their audiences. So merging that commercial necessity with any wider mission can be precarious.

However Samsung – a Worldwide TOP Partner (The Olympic Partner programme managed by the IOC) since 1998 – perfectly walks the line between promoting the ideals of the IOC and the Olympic Games with its own brand promotion in its latest release, titled "The Anthem".

The advert's premise - which can be watched by clicking here is genius in its simplicity. In using lines from different national anthems, a single song is created and shared (via Samsung's latest offering - the Samsung Galaxy S7edge) between people around the world.

What's more, each person or group of people who sing a line from a national anthem do so from a location not found in that country, but in another. So we see school children in Britain singing the national anthem of New Zealand and a young girl from Australia singing the national anthem of Botswana.

The video engages with the viewer by developing an expectation and hope that their anthem will be sung, or that a location in their country will be featured. By Samsung then placing that anthem or location in a different context, they challenge the concept of nationality, encouraging the viewer to look at the world without barriers.

But perhaps the most impressive quality of the advert is that it feels like a promotion of the Olympic Games, rather than of a mobile phone.
Samsung's Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Mobile Communications Business, Younghee Lee, puts it the following way: "By singing one anthem, fans and athletes across the globe can feel a shared sense of pride and unity and together celebrate collective progress, which is integral to the spirit of the Olympic Games."

With sport currently undergoing rigorous self-analysis and the build-up to Rio 2016 being overshadowed by doping scandals, Samsung's advert is a timely reminder that the unifying force of sport is as powerful as ever.

Photo: Twitter