Samsung blew millions on preplanned ‘Oscar selfie’ product placement

“Samsung Electronics Co. spent an estimated $20 million on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night,” Suzanne Vranica reports for The Wall Street Journal. “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.”

“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,” Vranica reports. “ABC is a unit of Walt Disney Co.”

MacDailyNews Take: And, ironically, Steve Jobs called Android a “stolen product” and vowed to wage “thermonuclear war” over it while his widow Laurene, via the estate of Steve Jobs, remains the largest single shareholder in ABC parent Walt Disney Co.

“Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was promised its devices would get airtime, these people said,” Vranica reports. “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.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because, in real life, Ellen DeGeneres is an iPhone user.

“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,” Vranica reports. “Kantar Media estimates that advertisers were paying roughly $1.8 million for 30 seconds worth of Oscar ad time this year. That implies Samsung could have spent $18 million on ad time this year. By comparison, the company spent a total of $24 million advertising on the Oscars since 2009, according to Kantar… The Samsung stunt didn’t come off without a hitch: many people were quick to note on Twitter that the Oscar host was also tweeting during the evening with rival Apple’s iPhone. Samsung declined to comment about Ms. DeGeneres’ iPhone usage.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Those in-the-know understand that Ellen really uses an iPhone and was paid to pretend to promote the Samsung on-air. The rest of the world, the low-info crowd, thinks that “all the stars” use Samsung phones.

So, as usual, Samsung will continue selling fake iPhones and iPads to the ignorati, while the informed refuse to settle for inferior knockoffs and choose real iPhones and iPads.

Net result: $20 million more of Samsung’s ill-gotten gains flushed straight down the toilet.

Related articles:
Samsung pays big bucks for Oscars product placement, but Twitter and an Apple iPhone steal show – March 3, 2014
Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres uses sponsored Samsung onstage, tweets from her Apple iPhone backstage – March 3, 2014
Samsung gets caught yet again with celebrity tweeting Galaxy ad from their Apple iPhone – December 3, 2013
T-Mobile USA CEO tweets ‘I don’t know what I’d do without my Samsung Note 3′ – from his Apple iPhone 5s – October 22, 2013
Tennis player David Ferrer accidentally tweets Samsung Galaxy S4 ad from his Apple iPhone – April 30, 2013
Oprah tweets ‘love’ of Microsoft’s Surface from her Apple iPad – November 19, 2012


    1. Besides, I am not sure at all that Samsung has paid anything to Ellen. It was obligatory contractual clause, not unlike Samsung in recent Winter Olympics. Sportsmen, signing for the games, were obliged to follow certain rules that provide interests of general sponsor.

    2. You post has been voted down, but it has some merit. I would not go so far as to say that no one cares about Samsung’s slavish copying, but it is true that many people buy cheap product knockoffs when they cannot afford or are not willing to pay for the real thing – in this case, the iPhone.

      The Whitman verse commercial is artsy and I like it to a degree. But it does not sell Apple or its products all that well. At the very least, it should be played more sparingly, interspersed with a couple of more straightforward and hard-hitting Apple promo commercials – the kind that actually show the product and make you want it with a passion.

      I don’t think that the problem is convincing the “masses that Apple products are truly better.” I believe that many of them already feel that way, and the ones that do not will probably never like Apple. Some of them grudgingly used Apple iPods and iPhones when they were the only game in town, but are quick to jump ship when a competitor copies Apple closely enough to make switching seem like a good idea.

      As far as the Oscar “selfie” moments go, Samsung spent a lot and achieved little. People who watch the Oscars know their stars in great detail, including what types of phones and tablets they use. If Samsung thought that it could fool them by sticking a Galaxy Note 3 in the hands of DeGeneres, then the company wasted its money.

  1. I think the first sentence of MDN’s last take highlights the problem Apple has: Samsung can drop a dollar bomb into the Oscars and leave regular people with the impression that their products are used by Hollywood.

    I personally don’t know how Apple addresses the issue. On the one hand, Apple has never been a company to tastelessly jam product placements down people’s throats; on the other hand Shamsung is going to see a return on its investment and Apple’s brand will sustain some erosion. First Sochi, then the Oscars. I despise the company’s ethics, but they sure know how to carpet-bomb the marketing channels.

    I guess Apple’s just going to have to keep focusing on making the best products and let them speak for the company.

    1. Apple has always been a “cool” brand… Which comes from the fact that they offer extremely refined products and product lines – they make what they want – market and anyone else be damned. You either get it, or you don’t.

      Samsung is a Korean company that makes everything from dishwashers to Flash RAM. Products not normally known to be considered “cool”. They also tend to attack the market by offering every conceivable model they can think of at every price point and demographic. IF you see a cheap $10 piece of crap Samsung flip phone, what’s going to make you think anything else they make isn’t cheap as well? Easy. MARKETING!!! And Samsung is the largest company in the world when it comes to marketing. $14 billion last year alone.

            1. Homer, filtered through John Lennon and Ogden Nash. If I could, I would have run it through Diné Bizaad.

              Why make it easier for the Trolls?

    2. Historically — as far back as I can remember — Apple has refused to pay for product placement. (I haven’t checked the specific details lately, but I suspect Cook has changed Apple’s policy.) A lot of companies pay to have their products prominently placed in TV shows, movies, videos, etc.

      Ever notice what are obviously Macs or iPhones or other Apple products in a TV show or movie and the Apple logo pasted over by some stick on or blurred into a vague dot? That’s because Apple refused to pay for the product placement and the director or producer decided an Apple product was the best to use anyway. But, sometimes the producers just don’t care and don’t modify the Apple logo on the device. In those cases you and everyone else sees the Apple product clearly there.

      Your last sentence is what Apple is about. Historically Apple would rather put its money into developing great products rather than product placement.

      1. And the kind of shows where you’ll see those Apple computers and monitors are usually one’s where they want to have a modern, cool image. (Some shows laughably blow it by presenting as “cool” and then blatantly showing a character using the tiled interface of Winblows.)

    3. As I posted above, the “regular” people who watched the Oscars know their stars in great detail, including what types of phones and tablets they use. If Samsung thought that it could fool them by sticking a Galaxy Note 3 in the hands of DeGeneres, then the company wasted its money.

      1. Solid observation. Samsung doesn’t understand groupies at all — the social impulse that clusters like-minded fans in a self-reinforcing vortex of like. Their control mania never admits foreign ideas into their ossified craniums. Crania. Whatever.

    1. Apple spent some good bucks for a Super Bowl ad many years ago that we are still talking about. In the final analysis it was money flush down the toilet. All ad money is money flushed down the toilet IMHO. i owned a business, spent lots on ads and the only thing that saved us was the product and word of mouth. Ads just expedite word of mouth or make the fanboys feel good, That’s all. That’s why Apple did not do any more Super Bowl ads.

  2. “During rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ms. DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy”

    If I buy a Sumsung phone, do I get Samsung executives to train me how to use the thing? Do we need need need training to use a Samsung phone?

  3. Jobs vowed war but put a homosexual pacifist in charge of the fight.
    Now that his boss’s RDF has worn off Cook hasn’t got clue one what to do next. Everybody in the world knows it’s just a matter of time, particularly hungry companies like Samedung that want a piece of the pie.
    Yes this is uber-critical, but name one thing Cook executed well on in 2013…

    1. Apple has lost the narrative, as any company will with an ineffectual ceo. Jobs was exceptional, and impossible to follow.
      The iPhone6 will be bigger, but that’ll probably be it for headline news for 2014. Unless they do a watch.

        1. It’s bad enough we get the weak narrow minded right wing douche bags on this forum, now homophobes? Tell me how what Tim Cook does in the privacy of his home has an effect on how he performs his job. Thank you Rush Limbaugh for creating an entire generation of racists, homophobes and sociopaths.

          1. Remove the “right wing” bashing from your critique and you have a point. As written, with your willingness to ascribe societal pathology to an entire political party’s followers, you’re basically a mirror of the OP’s sentiment.

  4. Rather than diminish what Samsung has done, which really gave them a serious return on investment, why not ask why Apple doesn’t feel compelled to do the same?

    The stupidity of bashing…

  5. Samsung and its media buying firm Starcom MediaVest negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show

    This is now verified as REAL? This isn’t just more bogus August Effect blahblah?

    If this is real, all I have to say to you, idiots at Samsung, is:

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    I think you get the idea.

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