Samsung Wins Big with Oscar Selfie

by Matt Klassen on March 4, 2014

Only a few short years ago I doubt any Hollywood glitterati attending the annual Oscars award show would have been caught dead without an Apple iPhone in their hands, as it for quite some time the slightly ostentatious choice of the wealthy elite. But as evidence of just how much the mobile scene has changed in the last few years, when Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres snapped her momentous ‘selfie’ with a bevy of stars seated in the front row of this year’s show it was done with a Samsung phone, not an Apple one.

The selfie in question, captured on a Samsung Note 3 almost instantly became a Twitter hit, smashing the record for retweets previously set by President Barack Obama, who’s ‘four more years’ tweet garnered 780,000 retweets. As E-Commerce Writer Kris Holt explains, “DeGeneres’ currently stands at more than 2.7 million — the first time that a tweet has had more than a million retweets.”

So while many actors and creative professionals walked out of the awards show with golden Oscar statues in their hands, there’s no question that such exposure was a huge marketing win for Samsung, a key sponsor of the event, as you simply can’t buy that kind of naturally integrated publicity with such a captivated mass audience.

It was a marketers dream, a confluence of a popular trend (selfies), a popular mobile brand (Samsung), and popular people (movie stars) that I would argue has rarely been seen before. Sure you have other key marketing events like the Super Bowl, but rarely do any commercials there offer the same sort of casual brand interaction and celebrity endorsement.

What’s more, aside from DeGeneres herself, who undoubtedly was prompted to use a Samsung device to take several self portraits during the show, I would guess that none of the other actors captured in the now world famous image gave a second thought to the device being used. Again, it was marketing magic.

But the mass celebrity seflie was hardly a win for Samsung alone, as it could be argued that both Twitter and DeGeneres herself were able to grow their brand by exponential leaps and bounds. Consider that Ellen DeGeneres’ own Twitter followers jumped from a respectable 2 million to a staggering 27 million people before the night was through.

“The biggest victor of Ellen DeGeneres’ photo is Twitter, for it shows the amazing viral effect of social media in real time, including during huge events like the Oscars,” Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, told the E-Commerce Times.

The only hiccup in Samsung’s brilliant viral marketing blitz was that perhaps it was a little overdone, as DeGeneres’ ‘selfie’ was accompanied by several hours of onerous Samsung advertisements, making this writer think that perhaps it was a little too much.

“If Samsung had only endorsed the Ellen-in-action Oscars activity, they would have succeeded,” said Lisa Parkin, president of Social Climber, “but I think viewers were overwhelmed with the ads and sponsorships.”

But given the success of DeGeneres’ ground breaking selfie for Samsung, don’t be surprised if companies now flood the airwaves with this sort of authentic brand interaction, hoping to capture that same sort of success. It will be difficult to replicate though, as the brilliance of this sort of marketing maneuver is its spontaneity, meaning the public will likely grow tired of the inevitable copycats to come.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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