It is the 2014 Oscars. The winner for Most Likely to Sneak Their Smartphone Onto TV…May I have the envelope, please…and the winner is…SAMSUNG! Would you please come up to accept your 'selfie!' Any techie geek worth their weight knows about Samsung and Ellen DeGeneres' 'spontaneous' selfie that has been retweeted over 3 million times – the most ever in all of Twitter's history. Samsung really got more mileage than they ever could have bargained for with their estimated $18 million in Oscar promotional money. I call it promotional rather than advertising dollars because spending money on these type of events involves a lot more than just spending money on TV commercials, which Samsung also did, included in that $18 million.
Years ago, before social media, before the digital format, before a smartphone could be turned into an advertising blitz, manufacturers would simply buy commercial airtime and that was all there was to it – oh, an occasional bottle of Heinz ketchup or a can of Pepsi sitting on a table might be used, but social media has changed the ways products are now advertised. Samsung did this in the Sochi Winter Olympics by issuing every participant a Samsung device and being the 'official sponsor' of the event and their name was plastered everywhere with an agreement that no other competitor's name would be shown on TV during the events – talk about eliminating the competition. Samsung did something on a much smaller scale at the Oscar's by placing their Galaxy Note 3 phablets in the back rooms of the Oscars for guests to be seen taking pictures with their products. Samsung even had a room back stage that had all of their products displayed on the walls and devices around for nominees to use.
Part of Samsung's advertising 'package' included the promised use of on-air time of their Galaxy Note 3 – we know that at least one event was 'planned' – during the "red carpet" pre-show, ABC ran a clip of six aspiring young filmmakers touring Disney Studios and the group could be seen in the video using Samsung devices. Although the 'selfie' looked very spontaneous, Ellen was trained on how to use the Galaxy Note 3 during rehearsals for the show. She had indicated that she wanted to do selfies throughout the Oscars and was told to use the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's during the show, however, she was also seen backstage using an iPhone at times.
Like it or not, that selfie that Bradley Cooper took with the Galaxy Note 3 has been tweeted 3 million times as of Monday, a record tweet and Samsung was mentioned 900 times a minute in tweets. Whether this is over saturation or not, a survey done said that Samsung's self-promoting received a 27-percent favorable rating, 69-percent were neutral, and only 8-percent claimed it had a negative impact. Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC said:
"It was a great plug for the Samsung brand. Ellen's selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can't buy that magic of going viral."
Ellen brought popularity to a company that didn't pay a penny for advertising, but received a big boost in popularity when she chose 'Big Mamma's and Pappa's Pizzeria pizzas to feed some of the guests up front – and on those boxes were ads for Coca-Cola, another non-sponsor. A tweet sent out last night from Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola's senior vice president of integrated marketing communications said that "Big Mama's and Pappa's Pizzeria getting a thank-you note tomorrow." You just never know when the next opportunity will knock…in Samsung's case, they helped theirs along with $18 million.
Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you thought of Samsung's use of their Galaxy Note 3 during the Oscars – brilliant move or in poor taste.