Samsung Really Stole the Show at the Oscars

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales by Vaughn Highfield

Ellen, Oscars, Selfie, Samsung, Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, DeGeneres, Kontera, Wall Street Journal

The South Korean mobile manufacturer is the real star of Hollywood’s finest

Samsung, who recently announced it would be releasing the Samsung Galaxy S5 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, made quite the sneaky splash at this year’s Oscars. While it may not have had its name draped on banners at the event, or been there to give away freebies to the glitzy crowd – encouraging sponsored tweets. Samsung had secretly sponsored and arranged the biggest thing to come out of the entire ceremony: the Ellen selfie.

That’s right, that picture where Ellen DeGeneres smiled with the likes of Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, and Meryl Streep, to name a few, was a piece of advertising from Samsung.

A $20 million piece of advertising that got shared by almost everyone on the planet – at least that’s what it seems like. Within minutes Ellen’s tweet of the photo had over 3 million retweets, and social media tracker Kontera claims that Samsung was getting around 900 mentions a minute.

Samsung’s advertising budget actually paid for adverts during ad breaks, but it also entitled them to in-event promotions, with at least one of them taking place on the red carpet before the show started.

Samsung’s promotion also saw six young aspiring filmmakers touring the Disney Studios, each of them making use of Samsung devices during the ‘documentary’.

According to sources close to The Wall Street Journal, the Ellen selfie came about due to ABC suggesting that Ellen uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 during the event as it was a key event sponsor. Ellen obliged, and was taught how to use the phone on the night.

It paid off though, as it certainly became the biggest focal point of the night, exploding all over the internet in a storm of viral marketing that every brand wishes was true.

Product placement is nothing new, but surely there’s to be some form of backlash against Samsung or the Academy Awards for pulling such a stunt and effectively ‘pulling the wool’ over consumers eyes. While product placement has it’s moments, the fact that Samsung’s stunt was shared so much by others could certainly make many people feel angry for essentially endorsing a product by retweeting or ‘liking’ a promotional image.

Indeed, Kontera reports that there has been some negative feedback, but only a tiny amount (8 per cent). The vast majority (69 per cent) actually seems to be neutral in opinion and tone, with only around a quarter (23 per cent) reacting positively to the stunt.

DeGeneres’ Samsung stunt wasn’t perfect as many also noticed that she had been tweeting from her own iPhone during the event, meaning that she wasn’t actually using the Samsung phone for the whole event.

Still, event high-jacking and publicity stunts like this are only going to see an increase as more and more viewers start skipping adverts and distract themselves with social media and second screens.