Samsung Celebrates South Sudan’s First Olympic Appearance With a Heart-Pounding Chant

Leo Burnett Chicago's moving work

Headshot of Katie Richards

Every athlete competing in the Olympic games has an incredibly inspiring story to tell, but some stories simply defy the odds.

Take 19-year-old Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan, a 400-meter runner from South Sudan. Hassan is on her way to competing at this year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which is already an impressive feat for such a young athlete. It will also be the first time that her country will be represented in the games after gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011. With such an inspiring story, Samsung couldn't deny that Hassan would be the perfect fit for a new campaign just in time for the Olympics.

"The Chant," created by Leo Burnett Chicago, aims to capture the brand's defying the odds attitude, while promoting the Samsung Gear IconX cord-free earbuds.

"We wanted to find an athlete that represented progress and defied the barriers and overcame something, to be an embodiment of what the brand is and the mentality of the brand. You can't move forward without overcoming obstacles," Gordy Sang, svp, creative director for Leo Burnett Chicago, told Adweek. 

The spot follows Hassan as she prepares for her Olympic debut by putting in her wireless headphones and getting herself psyched up to compete. Between shots the viewer sees her country rallying behind her and chanting her name in city streets, which Sang said was an incredible sight to witness during filming.

"These actors on set were incredible, it's something you would never see in the states, just the emotion and the power and excitement that they have behind these Olympics is so strong, we just hope it's well received not just globally but amongst them. The hope is that it brings good and it's not just exploiting a story but glorifying them," Sang noted.

"The Chant" ends with the tagline, "Do What You Can't," further illustrating the idea of overcoming obstacles in order to achieve one's dreams.

"The fact that South Sudan wasn't a country five years ago and now it's a country and has athletes representing them in the Olympics is 'Do What You Can't,'" Brian Siedband, svp, creative director for Leo Burnett, told Adweek.

The idea also fits nicely with the product itself, the wireless earbuds that give consumers the freedom to listen to their music how they want, when they want, without the constraints of wires or smartphones.


Client: Samsung

Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago

Campaign: "The Chant"

Global Chief Creative Officer: Mark Tutssel

US Chief Creative Officer: Britt Nolan

SVP Creative Director: Brian Siedband, Gordy Sang

VP, Executive Producer: Matt Blitz

Senior Producer: Brian Behling

SVP Global Account Director: Radim Svoboda

Account Director: Ashley Beam

Global Account Supervisor: Huy Ngo

Account Executive: Emily Smith

SVP Global Strategy Director: Kara Yang

Strategy Director: Christopher Bridgland

VP, Director of Celebrity Services: Peggy Walter

Production Company: EPOCH

Director: Martin de Thurah

Director of Photography:  Mátyás Erdély

Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan

Line Producer: Anura Idupuganti

Editorial House: Work Editorial

Editor: Stewart Reeves

Executive Producer: Marlo Baird

Post Production: The Mill – NY

Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe

Senior Producer: Eliana Carranza-Pitcher, Nick Strange Thye

Production Coordinator: Casey Sincic

Shoot Supervisor: Hitesh Patel

2D Lead Artist: Nathan Kane

3D Lead Artist: Wyatt Caprese

2D Artists: Andrew Vidal, Ben Kwok, Caio Sorrentino

3D Artists: Cole T. Clark, Timothy Kim, Weichieh Yu, Jung In Wang

Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield

Color Coordinator: Evan Bauer

Colorist: Fergus McCall

Music Production: Pivot Audio

Composer: Guy Amitai

Audio Studio: Another Country

Mixer: Peter Erazmus

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: June 21, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT