At the 2014 Oscars, Samsung took the award for most talked about brand with a celebrity-packed selfie tweeted by host Ellen DeGeneres using a Galaxy Note 3 phone. This case study looks at how the electronics giant made full use of its sponsor status at the film ceremony, merging old-school celebrity endorsements with new technology to reach millions of people.
Samsung spent an estimated $20m on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night. But the Korean firm may have got more promotional mileage from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.
In the middle of the ceremony Ellen (herself an iPhone user as eagle-eyed tweeters have pointed out) used her Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to go into the audience and assemble one of the biggest star ensembles seen for a single snap.
The photo featured DeGeneres posing with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, and Kevin Spacey amongst others.
The subsequent tweet went on to be shared 2.8 million times in one day, racing past a record held by President Obama when he won the US Presidency for the second term.
The Oscars host later said that Twitter had temporarily crashed because of her actions and added: “We really just made history. We’re all winners tonight.”
If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
It was later revealed that while the stunt felt spontaneous, it wasn’t entirely unplanned. As part of its sponsorship and ad pact for the Oscars with ABC, Samsung and its media buying firm Starcom MediaVest negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.
DeGeneres, in the days leading up to the broadcast, decided she wanted to take “selfies” during the show and ABC suggested she use a Samsung since it was a sponsor, another person familiar with the matter said.
During rehearsals Samsung executives trained DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy, two people familiar with the matter said, according to the WSJ.
The company had sponsored devices all over the red carpet, including a Galaxy Note 3 being used by the host throughout not the entire show.
In addition, Samsung placed a slew of TV ads for the entire Samsung Galaxy lineup, including the just announced Samsung Galaxy S5.
Watch this ad for the new Galaxy sS5 which aired during the ceremony: