Samsung is in the process of reviewing its global media and advertising agencies with a view to awarding one global agency the entirety of its estimated $14 billion account. R3 is handling the pitch but has declined to comment.
Currently in Asia-Pacific, Cheil is managing most of Samsung's business in China while it shares Southeast Asia with Leo Burnett. Media-wise, Starcom MediaVest has the account throughout the region with the exception of India, where IPG Mediabrands' Lodestar holds the account.
Unsurprisingly, sources speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific have said that "everyone" is pitching for this account. The review will reportedly focus on creative innovation and digital best practice.
This could be in light of Samsung's admittedly patchy performance marketing-wise. Its ads have ranged from the much-lauded 'The next big thing is already here' TVCs by agency 72andSunny in the US, which took swipes at Apple, to strange dancing ninjas in Iceland and mock-worthy work that no agency has admitted to.
Samsung, which views itself as the world's largest consumer goods company, expects its revenue this year to hit US$220 billion, more than P&G ($84 billion), Unilever ($67 billion) and Coca-Cola ($46 billion) combined.
It seems Cheil has had its eye on this prize for quite some time. Last year, Cheil China CEOs told Campaign Asia-Pacific's Jenny Chan that the 2009 acquisition of OpenTide was part of a plan to build a multi-screen ad serving and ad management platform that "integrates internet, mobile, TV, and tablet advertising" this year. The technology is being co-developed with Samsung Electronics.
This, combined with a trading desk built with a leading ad-tech provider, should provide Cheil with some of the digital-media chops necessary to land Samsung's giant account.