Samsung bought five-and-a-half minutes of airtime on the Oscars -- a hefty expense to win attention on one of the country's premiere advertising events. Yet what got everyone buzzing the next day wasn't one of its lavishly produced commercials, but a single photo on Twittter.
When host Ellen DeGeneres whipped out a white Galaxy Note 3 in front of 43 million viewers to take a selfie of the star-studded front row at the event, Samsung struck its own Oscar gold. With more than 3 million retweets within two days, the snapshot is pretty much assured a position in social marketing history next to Oreo's blackout tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl.
Samsung isn't discussing exactly how the picture came to be. But the marketer spent an estimated $20 million on the broadcast, which likely included its sponsorship deal with ABC as the official behind-the-scenes sponsor. It also inked a Twitter deal for promoted celebrity selfies from the greenroom backstage. Its creative agency is 72andSunny and media shop Starcom Mediavest.
Samsung claims the picture was unplanned. "While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking. A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected," the company said in a statement.
But the selfie seen 'round the world was surely not just serendipity. "It was absolutely no fluke," said Josh Feldmeth, CEO of Interbrand New York, Toronto, and San Francisco. "The conditions were perfectly cultivated for that to occur … it was not by chance."