What was the big headline from the 2014 Oscars telecast? “Ellen DeGeneres Broke Twitter.” That’s not the best headline. Instead, the big headline from the Academy Awards should have been, “Ellen DeGeneres Proves Power of Social Media.” Millions played a part acting to support the lesson and promote multiple brands worldwide.
Midway through the show, the Oscars hostess walked down an aisle of stars and asked actor Bradley Cooper to take a selfie with her. As they both crouched in front of Cooper’s extended arm, several other stars sitting nearby quickly crowded around Cooper and DeGeneres. In a matter of seconds, the group photo, including Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. It was about to go viral on Twitter and be seen by millions.
A few moments later, DeGeneres uttered what the social media world had already known as their Twitter feeds froze for twenty minutes due to all the retweet activity. “We crashed and broke Twitter. We made history.”
Before the end of the broadcast, the star-studded group selfie had been retweeted over 2 million times, breaking a record of 781,728 retweets set by President Barack Obama with the picture of him hugging First Lady, Michelle Obama, after his 2012 re-election.
Which brands were the beneficiaries from this comic interlude?
Of course, Twitter scored big. The short message service specializing in 140-character bursts of thought proved it is not all about words. It was the photo that generated the activity proving there are many ways to send a message others would be interested in receiving.
Samsung Electronics Corp. enjoyed the value of product placement as it was their electronic device that snapped the picture of the moment. Their One Samsung advertising deal with ABC television included an agreement to take ten promoted tweet selfies in the green room at The Oscars and send them to the world.
Obviously, Ellen DeGeneres bolstered her brand image and savvy know-how of social media use. Her @TheEllenShow Twitter account grew by a 47x factor the day of the Oscars broadcast compared to an average day and now boasts 27 million followers.
Finally, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences proved it was hip to a new generation of social media users. After the brief Twitter outage, when services were restored, @TheAcademy sent a tweet of their own saying, “Sorry, our bad.” It generated 4,211 retweets.
What should your brand learn?
Watching advertising’s best on the big stage can provide your business with a few takeaways:
Create memorable moments. What unique photo or situation can you create that will be fun to share and get people talking about your brand? Mix words about your brand, with images and video.
Plant your product strategically. Let your product or service be seen by others so they can interact with it and comment on it. A paid placement sponsorship or a few product giveaways cannot hurt.
Get involved with social media. It’s new. It’s a bit untested and wild west. It’s here to stay. If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences can be trendy after being in business for 86 years, so can you.