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Ad-Spamming Redux: Ellen's Samsung Oscars Narcissistic Selfie

Ellen DeGuinness, uhh…  DeGeneres, did break the world’s retweet record - set by President Obama’s “#Four more years” on election night 2012 – with her Samsung-sponsored Oscar celeb selfie, “#If only Bradley’s arm was longer.”  But that’s where their similarity ends.  In reality, the two celebrity endorsement tweets are at different ends of the spectrum—one expressing genuine gratitude to the millions of Obama supporters who helped reelect him, the other, an obtuse narcissistic celeb ad-spam.

To soften critics of crass product placement, giving the campaign a “human face,” Samsung decided to donate of $1 for each Ellen’s celeb selfie to a charity of her choice. Nice. Retweets could hit the $3 million mark. 

Never mind the copywrite discussion spinning about who really owns Ellen’s selfie, with the Oscars debut of its new brand campaign “You have to see this,” Samsung has rekindled the old “product placement” discussion.  But the question remains:  In our hyper-marketed world are we the hyper-connected fair game for yet another form of “ad spamming” with exponentially greater intrusion across multiple platforms, channels and devices? 

Our data analysis of Ellen’s celeb Samsung selfie on the NetBase social intelligence platform revealed an undercurrent of hostile sentiment among viewers offended by the “obnoxious product placement,” and “commercialization of the Oscars.” 

And at what point does our brain simply switch off, anesthetized by product placement, i.e., ad-spamming overload? 


For all the “selfie crashes Twitter” hoopla and Samsung’s charitable giving, other real questions surrounding event marketing sponsor integrity have been raised, not the least of which the questionable choice of Oscars hosts of late.  If Seth MacFarlane bombed last year, was the choice of Ellen de Generes and her endless unscripted bantering any more appealing, or even an antidote for keeping a predominantly female audience interested, or was she simply distracting and boring?  Reviews from Oscar critics are mixed.

You might say Samsung got its money’s worth with its Oscar celeb selfie campaign, which leveraged a growing fascination with the selfie trend.  Quickly becoming an awards show feature of Twitter’s growing Amplify Ad program, for the 2014 Oscars the Twitter deal included 10 promoted celebrity selfies from the Samsung-sponsored Green Room.  

But, I would question the longevity prognosis for Twitter’s program, as well as any attempt at inane product placement revival, in a world increasingly seeking authenticity in brand messaging and social content marketing, where people desire genuine dialogue with brands, not a torrent of narcissistic celebrity product ad-spamming.

Join The Conversation

  • Brian Hughes's picture
    Mar 4 Posted 3 years ago Brian Hughes

    I'm happy that Ellen did what she did with the epic selfie that broke Twitter. No matter how deep you want to analyze what happen, why and how; it was still epic and it was fair game to defeat Obama's record. I also loved that she ordered pizzas from a real local pizza restaurant and passed out slices during the most awkward time to eat pizza. I think Ellen and the Oscars gave a bump of support to the digital marketing arena and I'm grateful for it. Points I think that can be taken away from this are;

    • As a business, don't be caught without a Twitter account or any of the major social networks (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn and or Pinterest etc...) Just imagine if  didn't actually have a Twitter account.
    • As an online marketer, always be prepared to cover events that can boost your sphere of influence online.
    • Have access to a popular blog to be able to quickly publish content about the event being covered. Danny's great example! (Google gives authority to those who publish content sonner than everyome else)
    • Don't be jealous of other people viral content.
    • Make yourself availbable to be part of something going viral or an epic moment.

    I hope Ellen started a couple of new trends that inspire others to think outside the box and capitalize moments to be part of something epic.

    My forecast of upcoming epic selfies:

    • Sporting event selfies; NBA Campionship, NHL Stanley Cup, etc...
    • Political selfies; Whitehouse selfies, Congress selfies, Campaign selfies, etc...
    • Internet Marketing selfies; Matt Cutts at conferences, other conferences, etc...
    • Sitcom selfies; Big Bang Theory selfie, The Voice selfie, Two and Half Men selfie, etc...
    • Music industry selfies; Grammy selfie, CMA selfie, etc...

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