The Making of ‘Make It Yours’

“If you have an idea and a phone, you can create anything,” said Jesse Coulter, the creative mind behind Samsung’s “Make It Yours” ad campaign and Chief Creative Officer for Samsung Electronics America.

The ad, part of Samsung’s ‘Do What you Can’t’ campaign, was directed and shot by two Oscar-nominated women, and is an inspirational call-to-action for creators of all types and platforms and taps into the current cultural moment of empowerment resonating out of Hollywood and beyond.

“Make It Yours” debuted this week online and hits the TV airwaves just once, Sunday night, March 4, during the 2018 Academy Awards telecast.



“Technology should empower and help you defy barriers, both internal and external,” Coulter said, describing the ‘Make It Yours’ spot. “When we talk with a lot of creators, which we’re always doing – it truly is about the battle of getting started. For most people, there are barriers for why they don’t tell their story.  Half the battle is just going out there and doing it.”

In it, two young women armed with Samsung’s newest smartphone – the Galaxy S9 & S9+ — ponder whether they should “make something,” when a glittering array of real-life creators, from aspiring YouTube artists to award-winning filmmakers, fancifully encourage them to do it.

“Make them see something beautiful,” says creator Molly Burke, an accessibility, anti-bullying and mental health activist whose visual impairment doesn’t impede her own visual storytelling. “Make something awkward,” says Issa Rae, author and creator of “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube, and “Insecure” on HBO. “Make mistakes until you don’t,” says BMX athlete Nigel Sylvester.

Kicking the inspiration up a notch, the ad’s director, Dee Rees, and cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, emerge from behind the camera in different scenes and celebrating accomplishing their own historical firsts.

Morrison, the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Academy Award for this year’s ‘Mudbound,’ says “And then you never know.” Rees, the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, finishes the thought: “You might make history.”

“We wanted to shine a light on creators and tell the story of how they’ve all done it their way,” Coulter said. “It’s also how Samsung approaches innovation to empower our customers with technology that enables them to defy barriers –Samsung strives to make the things that can’t be made, so you can do the things that can’t be done.”

Samsung’s new smartphone – the Galaxy S9 – plays a supporting role, while the diverse cast continues to challenge the audience to just “make anything,” and move beyond barriers – whatever they may be: budget, inaction, lack of inspiration and just “Make it Yours.”

“Make them regret the day they passed on you,” Rees subtly quips.

“We’re always pushing to make the camera quality as great as it can be and getting closer and closer to replacing bigger, more expensive cameras.  What excites us most at Samsung is putting the best smartphone camera ever in the hands of many different types of creators that can truly defy barriers with our technology,” said Coulter. “We think that’s empowering.”

Following the ad’s debut at the Oscars, it will run exclusively in digital media and select creators will continue telling their stories in social media using Samsung’s Galaxy S9.


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