The Oscar selfie that broke the "retweet" record and caused Twitter to crash was part of an advertising deal with Samsung. It wasn't a completely spontaneous moment. It was the ultimate product placement.
From 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.I don't know why some people are troubled by the revelation that Samsung benefited from the selfie, that it wasn't entirely unplanned.
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....
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.
The entire broadcast is about product placement. The Oscars "sell" the stars and the films.
Samsung got an avalanche of free advertising thanks to the millions of Twitter users retweeting the photo.