Leo Burnett Chicago, Samsung Chant for South Sudan’s First Olympian

By Erik Oster 

Leo Burnett Chicago launched a spot for Samsung celebrating Margret Rumat Rumar Hassan, the 19-year-old 400-meter runner from South Sudan who represents that country’s first-ever Olympic athlete, entitled “The Chant.” 

“The Chant” promotes the Samsung Gear IconX cord-free earbuds, which Hassan puts on in the beginning of the ad. This sparks a switch to scenes of locals chanting for her across her home country, interspersed with her preparing to enter the Olympic stadium. The concludes with Hassan’s name announced over the stadium loudspeaker as she removes the earbuds. 

As far as Olympic stories go, Hassan’s is especially inspiring, and an excellent match for the campaign’s message, as the spot concludes with the “Proud sponsor of those who defy barriers” line, followed by the unfortunate “#DoWhatYouCant” hashtag. While the connection to the product is a bit of a stretch, there’s at least a tenuous connection to the wireless earbuds allowing increased mobility for its users, especially athletes using them during a workout.

“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,” Leo Burnett Chicago senior vice president, creative director Gordy Sang told Adweek


“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,'” added fellow senior vice president, creative director Brian Siedband


Client: Samsung
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
Campaign: “The Chant”
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
Producers: Eliana Carranza-Pitcher/Nick Strange Thye
Colorist: Fergus McCall