And the Oscar Goes to…Samsung

By: Gina Mason

This year’s Oscars may go down as one of the most watched and talked about award shows in history. However in years to come, we won’t remember the dresses, the winners or the pizza delivery (well, maybe the pizza delivery). We will remember Ellen Degeneres’ selfie that catapulted Samsung into the spotlight. That star-studded photo generated an enormous amount of attention and the strategic placement of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 may be the most epic product placement ever.

Product placement is not a new concept, but finding new ways to highlight a product without being blatantly obvious can be difficult. We have all seen numerous examples of product placement in TV shows and movies (i.e Thomas Hanks’ best friend “Wilson” in Castaway) but the most successful product placements are subtle. Here are a few reasons why the Samsung selfie strategy was effective and successful.

1.   Nothing sells products like celebrities.

We live in a celebrity-obsessed society where people try to replicate what celebrities do, wear, etc. With that concept, Samsung strategically placed its product in the epicenter of the biggest celebrity gathering of the year. Associating the product with that kind of star power was brilliant and it is no wonder why it generated such “buzz.”. Although Ellen was caught using an iPhone backstage, she positioned the Galaxy Note 3 to be the star of the show with some  the biggest names in Hollywood behind it. Literally. In case you haven’t seen it, the star-studded selfie included DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Bradly Cooper, Peter Nyong’o Jr., Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong’o and of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

2.     It utilized the power of social media

As many of you know, social media is the way of the world and having something go “viral” is the ultimate goal in advertising. Samsung did a very smart thing by leveraging Ellen DeGeneres’ 27.5 million Twitter followers to promote the photo and ultimately the product. According to a LA Times article, “DeGeneres’ tweet has received nearly 2.7 million retweets and nearly 1.4 million favorites. The previously most-retweeted Twitter post was by President Obama after winning his second term in 2012. That tweet got 778,000 retweets.” DeGeneres’ tweet literally “broke” Twitter’s operating system for a little over 20 minutes.

3.     It avoided the “hard sell” approach and made it seem natural

What made this placement so successful was that Samsung avoided a hard sell approach and opted for a more natural and seemingly spontaneous placement. The emphasis was not on the phone, it was on the photo. However, the white Galaxy Note 3 got its own 15 seconds of fame as the stars gathered around it. Also, what is more natural than selfies these days? Considering the word selfie was added to the dictionary last year, the act of taking “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” is now an everyday practice.

4.     It complemented its advertising plan

Outside of the product placement, Samsung spent an additional $20 million dollars on ads that were aired during commercial breaks, according to The Wall Street Journal . The article goes on to say that, “as part of its sponsorship and ad pact for the Oscars with ABC, the TV network airing the show, Samsung and its media buying firm Starcom MediaVest negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show.”

I thought the product placement was innovative and was a unique way to generate attention for the product. I am really interested to see if there is a major increase in Samsung’s sales after this selfie strategy.

What did you think of the selfie and Samsung’s product placement? Did it make you consider purchasing or learning more about the Galaxy Note 3?

I welcome your comments and as always, if you like what you read be social and share. 

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