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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie: Samsung Spent Nearly $20 Million on Ad Time for the Oscars -

Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie: Samsung Spent Nearly $20 Million on Ad Time for the Oscars - 

Samsung Electronics Co. spent an estimated $20 million on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night. But Samsung may have got more promotional mileage from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.

Ms. DeGeneres toyed with a white Samsung phone during the broadcast, including when she handed a Galaxy Note 3 to actor Bradley Cooper so he could take a "selfie" photo of himself and other stars including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Lawrence surrounding the host.

While the stunt felt spontaneous, it wasn't entirely unplanned. 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, according to two people familiar with the matter. ABC is a unit of Walt Disney Co. DIS +2.98%

Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was promised its devices would get airtime, these people said. At least one of the product plugs was planned: during the "red carpet" preshow, ABC ran a clip of six aspiring young filmmakers touring Disney Studios. The group were seen in the video using Samsung devices.

The origin of the "selfie" shot was a little different. Ms. 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 Ms. DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy, two people familiar with the matter said.

"It was a great plug for the Samsung brand," said Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC. "Ellen's selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can't buy that magic of going viral," he added.

Having products appear in a program—product placement—has been a part of the TV business since the early days of the medium.

But it has become a more popular marketing technique in recent years as ad-skipping via digital video recorders has prompted marketers to look for ways to break free of the confines of the commercial break.

Oscars host Ellen Degeneres set a record for most retweets during the Oscars telecast. Who else were the social-media winners and losers at the Oscars? David Neuman, social-media manager at Prime Visibility, joins digits. Photo: Twitter.com/TheEllenShow.

Ad-skipping is far less common during an event like the Academy Awards, which most viewers are watching live. Even so, advertisers say, product placement combined with ad buys help viewers better remember the products being promoted.

At the same time, TV networks typically reserve such product placement for big spending advertisers, media buyers say. Samsung was one of the biggest sponsors of this year's Oscars broadcast, buying five minutes of commercial time.


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