Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie: Samsung's Ad Strategy

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Samsung spent an estimated $20 million on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast. But Samsung may have got more promotional mileage from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.

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. 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. Advertisers say that product placement combined with ad buys help viewers better remember the products being promoted.

Behind the Preplanned Oscar Selfie: Samsung's Ad Strategy