Cannes Lions

Samsung Puts Trolls Under the Microscope

EDELMAN, New York / SAMSUNG / 2018


1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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It started with a tweet. We asked new GS8 owners to show off the camera by sharing the first picture snapped on their new phones. They responded with glamour shots, ‘gram worthy landscapes, pet pics and more. But of course the trolls replied, too. One in particular—@SavEdward—sent us a gross tweet: “It was a dick pic.”. Thankfully, he didn’t attach proof.

Twitter had become an increasingly hostile environment, so we couldn’t let this go. This was our chance to stand up for anyone who’s ever received an unwanted picture. Within minutes, we responded to @SavEdward with a savagely simple reply: the microscope emoji.

We knew the one character tweet was a clever retort, but we didn’t predict the viral sensation that followed: more than 80 news stories worldwide—all from a single emoji.


The moment itself happened rapidly. Our community managers spotted @SavEdward’s tweet in real-time and quickly shared it with our war room team. We came up with the emoji reply in under a minute and, twenty minutes later, we hit publish on the client-approved tweet.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and positive, reaching “escape velocity” by the evening—thanks in part to the troll’s embrace of our reply. He captioned a screenshot of the interaction with “Samsung roasted me” and an emoji of his own: the tears of joy. News coverage hit the following morning with zero PR outreach, sustaining organically over the next several days.


A single emoji sparked a viral moment and eclipsed the Note7 narrative. Starting with brand’s immediate fans, it quickly expanded to include tech, lifestyle and mainstream media. But most rewarding was the vocal praise it earned from our loyal fans AND ardent detractors. Key highlights:

- Awareness: 528MM estimated media impressions from more than 80 news placements, all of which were earned organically with no PR outreach. Coverage was universally positive with 100% message pull through (e.g. picture of GS8 and mention of launch/availability).

- Viral Engagement: The interaction resulted in 72,483 Retweets and 228,000 Likes. It trended on numerous social content aggregators, including the front page of Reddit.

- New Audience Exposure: Coverage in top-tier millennial and female-focused outlets including BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan.

- Brand Praise: 52% increase in brand praise week-over-week from time of microscope reply. Hundreds of replies expressing purchase/switching intent.

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