The Internet was abuzz after the 2014 Oscars but it wasn’t the award for “Best Picture” that had everyone talking. Instead, it was how host Ellen DeGeneres grabbed a few of her famous friends for a star-studded “selfie” that included Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Jared Leto, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt.
Previously, Barack Obama’s election-night photo of him embracing Michelle was the most retweeted tweet of all time with over 778,000 retweets. In under an hour, Ellen’s photo hit over 1.2 million retweets and continued to climb, even hours later, to 2.7 million retweets
Though initially seen as a victory for Twitter – millions of people propagating a single message using the free microblogging platform – it was later revealed that the act was most likely a conceived stunt for Samsung, a major sponsor of the Oscars. Ellen snapped the now infamous shot with what appeared to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but it was later revealed that Ellen had been tweeting backstage from an iPhone during other parts of the evening.
While social media has become a mainstay in most companies’ integrated marketing platforms, it’s situations like this one that suggest that traditional media isn’t going anywhere. This was not just happenstance, but rather a product of a very large company sponsoring the biggest Hollywood event of the year, and getting its product into the hands of some very famous people. Even if your company or brand doesn’t have a Hollywood budget, there are still plenty of ways that you can integrate social media into your traditional marketing program.
Use social media to promote your traditional media coverage. You might not be seated in Dolby Theater, but if your company spokesperson is booked on a local morning show, join them to live-blog the experience from your social network of choice. You’ll make people who are tuning into your updates from home feel as if they were “there” and they’ll relate to your brand all the better.
Develop an influencer program in your local market. Though Hollywood-gifting opportunities can begin at upwards of $5,000, they don’t always guarantee that your products will fall into the hands of the likes of Ellen DeGeneres. Instead of taking the A-List road, start local and seed product to your local news anchors, television personalities and authors, who may be frequently photographed or filmed when out and about on the town. You’ll create just enough local buzz that the national media might eventually turn an eye.
Develop social network programming around live events. If you want to maximize a live event the way Ellen did, you don’t need several million Twitter followers to do it! Next time your company participates in a live event – be in a trunk show at a local boutique or a chili cook-off at the state fair, come armed with your camera and a device with built-in WiFi. Create a fun contest, giveaway or coordinated chat around the event so that people who can’t attend in person have incentive to participate in home. No, you might not be able to snag Brad Pitt, but you’ll tap into people who might not have known about you if they hadn’t been tuned in online.
Update: Oh yeah, it’s confirmed that this selfie was planned by Samsung. What an excellent example of how social media can amplify advertising, PR and other marketing campaigns!
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.