March 4, 2014
|[Image via Twitter]|
Samsung spent an estimated $20 million on ads that ran during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast Sunday night on ABC, but the electronics company may have gained more promotional mileage from host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
She toyed with a white Samsung phone onstage, and during a stroll through the audience handed it to actor Bradley Cooper so that he could take a photo of himself and DeGeneres surrounded by other stars including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lawrence. As of Monday afternoon, the image had been shared on Twitter nearly 3 million times, a Twitter record.
The selfie stunt may have seemed spontaneous, but in fact it was part of a sponsorship and ad agreement for the Oscars that Samsung had made with ABC. The company negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show, according to unnamed sources cited by the Journal.
Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was promised that its devices would receive airtime. Days before the show, DeGeneres decided she wanted to take selfies during the Oscars and ABC suggested she use a Samsung device since the company was a sponsor. Samsung executives reportedly trained her on how to use the phone.
Part of TV since the medium’s early days, product placement has become more popular with marketers in recent years as viewers fast-forward through commercials with their digital video recorders. But as lines between entertainment and advertising blur further, experts warn that overly promotional gimmicks could turn off consumers. — Greg Beaubien