07.03.19 / Samsung Innovation

Samsung’s Creative Currency Shines at Cannes

Talking Points

  • Samsung Electronics America executives shared, celebrated and were inspired by the best in marketing and creative communications at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
  • In panel discussions, the industry leaders discussed the company’s shift from a product focus to an experience-centric focus, fostering equality and diversity from the inside out and communicating effectively with Gen Z.
  • “If you want your brand to win with Gen Z, you’ve got to stop story-telling and you’ve got to start story-living,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, Vice President of Strategy and Transformation, Samsung Electronics America

Samsung Electronics America’s marketing and creative communications executives arrived in the South of France in June ready to inspire and learn from their influential counterparts from brands around the world, at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The conference is an annual event where the marketing world’s best minds share key insights and learnings, predict future trends and are awarded for their most compelling work of the year.


Shelly Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient (moderator), Harry Kargman, CEO, Kargo, Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of Hint and Michelle Crossan-Matos, VP of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America speak at Cannes Lion 2019
From Left to Right: Shelly Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient (moderator), Harry Kargman, CEO, Kargo, Kara Goldin, Founder and CEO of Hint and Michelle Crossan-Matos, VP of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America.

In panel and roundtable discussions over the five-day event in the iconic city of Cannes, Samsung executives described the company’s shift from product-centric to experience-driven marketing, passionately spoke to the importance of fostering equality and diversity within a company and shared key observations on successfully communicating with Generation Z.

“If you want your brand to win with Gen Z, you’ve got to stop story-telling and you’ve got to start story-living,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, Vice President of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America, during the iHeartMedia & Publicis Media Lunch Panel with Ryan Seacrest. Gen Z was a hot topic of discussion at the festival, as brands look to capture mindshare of the youngest generation of consumers and creatives in the workplace.

“The next generation doesn’t want talk. They want experiences, and they want technology that helps them live life to the fullest,” said Crossan-Matos.


Michelle Crossan-Matos speaks at Cannes Lion 2019.
Michelle Crossan-Matos, (far left) VP of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America, speaks at the Brand Innovators VIP Roundtable, at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Creativity Festival. Others pictured from L to R: Gi-Gi Downs, Edelman Managing Director; Mathieu Gamache, Hershey Canada Sr. Marketing Manager; Luciana Resende Lotze, Visa Sr. VP Marketing Latin America and Caribbean.

That ethos is reflected across many of Samsung’s recent award-winning marketing campaigns. Moving from targeting specific demographics and highlighting the products, Samsung’s marketing efforts of late have showcased a more holistic understanding of the role technology plays in consumers’ passions. The company’s focus on building communities around those consumer passion points has played a crucial part. Think gamers, creators and entrepreneurs, and even fitness-driven consumers.

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One notable example being Samsung’s best-in-class Note 9 launch last August, which included strategic partnerships: one with Fortnite, the trend-setting video game, to offer unique skins for playing the game exclusively on the Note 9 that boosted brand cache, and a music partnership with music trio “LSD” to release their hit “Thunderclouds” in conjunction with The Galaxy Note 9 smartphone ad titled “The Super Powerful Note.” According to Shazam and Billboard, “the song landed 304,000 Shazam tags in August,” as a result of the partnership, which was the largest total for any song on Billboard & Clio Music’s Top TV Commercials chart that month.



Crossan-Matos pivoted to The Female Quotient panel discussion on “Leaders Who Inspire: The Impact of Having an Equality Mindset,” sharing exclusive insights into the creativity that organizational diversity can foster.

“A leader inspires people to believe they can achieve anything,” Crossan-Matos shared. “It’s about democratizing opportunity, so that everyone on the team believes they can change the world for the better.”

She leads by example: half of Crossan-Matos’ Samsung team is female.


Michelle Crossan-Matos speaks on a panel at Cannes Lions 2019
Samsung Electronics America Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent Michelle Engel (left) participates in the panel, TrendWatch 2020: Conversations Shaping the Zeitgeist (Creator Culture) at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Creativity Festival on Twitter Beach.

Michelle Engel, Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent for Samsung Electronics America, also made the rounds at Cannes, speaking about creative currency and building memorable partnerships that can also be monetized.

“Samsung encourages and empowers creators to embrace their full identity, and we want to help them defy their barriers,” Engel said, echoing the brand’s values, which are embedded in the brand’s mantra, “Do What You Can’t.”


Samsung's Michelle Engel, Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent, speaks at Cannes Lion 2019.
Samsung Electronics America Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent Michelle Engel (second from right) participates in the Cannes Lions International Creativity Festival panel, “Playing (with) music – why live streaming and video games get fans to listen,” at the Twitch space.

At a roundtable discussion on “How to Unleash the Power of Influencers,” H.L. Ray, Samsung Electronics America Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, said brands are respected and appreciated for listening to their customers and communicating with them directly through social media. He talked about the importance of connecting with consumers via authentic and diverse influencer content.


From L to R: H.L. Ray, VP of Brand Experience, Michelle Engel, Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent, and Michelle Crossan-Matos, VP of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America represent Samsung's innovative strategies for creative marketing.
From L to R: H.L. Ray, VP of Brand Experience, Michelle Engel, Head of Programming, Partnerships, Influencer and Talent, and Michelle Crossan-Matos, VP of Strategy and Transformation at Samsung Electronics America pictured at the Twitch space at the 2019 Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

“We want to take our brand message, ‘Do What You Can’t,’ to a diverse group of influencer-partners and empower them to express themselves authentically – and inspire others,” Ray said.

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