Endearing, spontaneous moment or basic product placement? Host Ellen DeGeneres helped bring in record-breaking numbers on Sunday, March 2 with the live telecast of the 86th annual Academy Awards, which was watched by 43 million viewers according to the Hollywood Reporter. And one of her biggest moments of the night was when she rounded up 10 of Hollywood's elite for an "impromptu" selfie — which in turn birthed the most retweeted item ever.
It began, of course, with DeGeneres asking Oscar winner Meryl Streep to participate in a selfie with her and then other winners and nominees like Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Lupita Nyong'o quickly jumped in.
But in plan view was the large white Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone Cooper used to take the photo. The Wall Street Journal doesn't think this was a coincidence.
"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," the Journal reports.
The site also reported that Samsung executives trained DeGeneres to use the Galaxy phone prior to the show.
"It was a great plug for the Samsung brand," Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC told the Journal. "Ellen's selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can't buy that magic of going viral."
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