PR Impact of #OscarSelfie

Trending hashtags during the Oscars usually have to do with the winners, such as #bestsupportingactress or the show itself, with a simple #Oscars2014.

This year, the hashtag that got the Twitterverse talking was inspired by the Oscars’ host herself – #OscarSelfie. Midway through the iconic awards show, talk show funnywoman Ellen DeGeneres took to the crowd of winners, handed her phone to actor Bradley Cooper, who then took a star-studded selfie including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o and Angelina Jolie.

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DeGeneres then proceeded to post the selfie on Twitter, not only crashing the site within minutes, but also setting a record for most retweets … ever. During the show, the tweet generated approximately 2.7 million retweets and 1.4 million favorites. The previous record holder? President Obama’s “Four more years” announcing his reelection at just over 780,000.

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In the days following the Oscars, speculation began to rise about the purpose of the famous selfie — was it a sponsored shot or product placement? The phone used to take the selfie was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – a sponsor of the broadcast.

The fact that the selfie may have been pure product placement has irked some fans, but one fact remains: the selfie featuring the Samsung phone was incredible public relations. No matter how much one company spends on a campaign, nothing equals the price of a campaign going viral.

Do you think that the selfie was product placement and part of a campaign? Does this change your mind about what you originally thought of the #OscarSelfie? In regards to the selfie crashing Twitter, do you think this created a positive or negative image for Twitter itself?

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3 Responses to PR Impact of #OscarSelfie

  1. Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale says:

    I didn’t even think about the fact it might be product placement, but that seems very plausible now. I think if it was, then that was a genius idea on the part of Samsung. I find it interesting that they decided to tweet the picture instead of Facebook it (have a contest of “likes” or Facebook “shares”). I think the fact they chose Twitter is particularly interesting. Samsung is targeting a younger audience and also the media since that is describes many Twitter users.

    I think this created a positive image for Twitter. It just shows how fast ideas can spread using this social media platform. It shows Twitter has a lot of power and major companies go to it first instead of Facebook which has been a leader in social media for a long time.

  2. Valerie Nunez says:

    I think that the selfie was definitely product placement — Ellen DeGeneres was tweeting from an iPhone but the phone everyone saw in her hands when she was onstage was the Samsung. However, I do not have a problem with it. Ellen made selfies a big part of her act as host, and it makes sense that she would use a sponsored phone to do it. However, I think that the #OscarSelfie itself was spontaneous and fun, and I was definitely cracking up when it was happening on television. I think the fact that the selfie crashed Twitter is a positive for the site. It says, “Hey, we’re so popular that more people were using our service than our servers can even handle!” And Twitter was able to generate more news coverage because of the crash.

  3. Zander Buel says:

    PR stunts like this are a dime a dozen. It’s ridiculous to think that anyone was “irked” by the product placement implications. They’re all celebrities with brands chasing them everywhere. If it’s true that Samsung did sneak its phone model under the radar, then good for them. Smart marketing. PR and marketing are not limited to commercials and billboards where the advertising efforts are obvious. Stunts in public, large and small, have always taken place to promote a product in otherwise unconventional methods. The power of Twitter makes it all the easier to capitalize on.

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