Samsung Was The Real Winner At This Year’s Oscars

’12 Years A Slave’ may have taken home to top award at this year’s Oscars, but Samsung were the real winners on the big night.

The company played an integral role in the most famous moment of show. The host Ellen DeGeneres pulled out her white Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and handed it to Bradley Cooper, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in American Hustle. She then encouraged a group of nominees and presenters including Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and Kevin Spacey to huddle together for a ‘selfie’. It became the most shared tweet on the social network yet, currently clocking in at almost 3 and a half million retweets.

It was a fun and spontaneous moment among the Oscars broadcast, but it was also an enormous advertisement for Samsung. The company spent an estimated $20 million (incidentally, the same as the entire budget for ’12 Years A Slave’) on adverts and product placement during the Academy Awards.

Originally, Samsung devices were simply going to be used during the red carpet pre-show with ABC running a clip of six young filmmakers using their Samsung devices. However, in the lead up to the Oscars, Ellen DeGeneres suggested that she could take ‘selfies’ during the event to share on Twitter. ABC said that she should use a Samsung smartphone to take them since it was a sponsor. She was then trained to use the Galaxy Note 3 for the selfie moment instead of her trusty iPhone 5.

The photo was taken and it, of course, became a viral hit. Samsung were delighted. They had paid for a throwaway moment of cynical product placement, and what they got for their buck was an organically integrated role in one of the Oscars’ most popular moments.

But did it really help promote Samsung? Neither the tweet nor the host made any mention of it being a Samsung device. However, it’s very clear from the footage which particular handset Ellen used and, as such, it got people talking. According to Kontera, a company that tracks content on social media sites, Samsung was getting almost 900 mentions per minute. It was the kind of advertisement you simply can’t put a price tag on. The company later told Tech Cruch that it was “a great surprise for everyone” and it was “delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment”. Samsung also said it would donate $1.5m to two charities of DeGeneres’s choosing as a thank you.

So while it may have been ’12 Years A Slave’ that eventually came home with the golden trophy, solidifying its name in movie history, it’s Samsung who walked away from the Oscars with the biggest victory. Thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and a healthy marketing budget, they were responsible for creating one of the most humorous, creative and popular TV moments of the year so far.