Samsung was a worldwide Olympic partner of the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, and Samsung Netherlands sponsored two Dutch short track skaters, Sjinkie Knegt and Suzanne Schulting.
The brand created an elevated and innovative sponsorship program that differentiated Samsung from other sponsors and upheld the brand purpose: “Meaningful progress comes from daring to defy barriers.” The brand created a specially designed suit to help the short-track skaters enhance their technique through precise data tracking. Samsung revealed the suit and its capabilities just before the start of the Olympic Games, and “SmartSuit” made a splash in the media.
Innovation in sports is a hot topic just before every Olympics. Samsung wanted to deploy a sponsorship initiative that set it apart from other Olympic sponsors and inserted itself into the conversation around the latest advancements in technology and sports.
To do so, Samsung invented a new training suit that utilized mobile technology to help athletes perfect their technique on the ice. The suit was equipped with sensors to measure in real-time the skater’s height above the ice with millimeter accuracy. This information was valuable to the skaters and coaches because the lower the skater is to the ice, the faster he or she can go. Until now, this distance had been judged by gut feeling.
The first step the brand took was meeting with the national team coach and a human movement scientist. From there, the suit was developed to measure the distance between the skater and the ice via five sensors. The sensors fed live kinetic telemetry and location data to two Samsung devices, the Galaxy S8 and the Tab S3. Through his device, the coach could monitor the data and send a vibration to the skater’s suit to request he or she adjust position.
The athletes and coach secretly trained with the suit for months. Just before the Olympics, when the buzz about innovations in sports and PyeongChang was at its peak, Samsung announced the SmartSuit to the press and media.