Can Brands Selfie Themselves To Increased Market Share?

The Oscars are well and truly in the history books. Especially so because of the Ellen selfie, using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. And perhaps a little due to a Coca-Cola-branded pizza box, and a mangled Broadway star’s name.

But let me ask you this: Did any of it matter from a marketing perspective?

Samsung obviously enjoyed a lot of attention with The Selfie. But would people outside of the inner tech and marketing circles (that’s you, dear reader) know that Ellen used a Galaxy 3? Would those same people know that it was Samsung’s new flagship phone? I am betting “no,” nor do they care. If you have any doubts, ask people on the bus around you. Or call your mom.

Do you think Coca-Cola sold more as a result of its unplanned screen presence? I bet that if you are Pepsi’s media agency, you’re already knee-deep in make-good discussions. But for the average viewer, it probably went unnoticed. And if it was noticed, it was totally natural: there is a mention of Coke on a pizza box. Seen that 1,000 times. And there is Pepsi as a sponsor, seen that 1,000 times too. Impact zero.

So who did win? Who got ROI on their Oscar presence, intentional or unintentional?

Well, first and foremost, the movies did, as their Netflix, iTunes and Amazon sales will no doubt show. And Twitter gained, or perhaps we should say regained, its position as the place where stuff happens in the moment. Whether that will translate to more Twitter advertising revenue going forward remains to be seen.

Also, I think “Brand Samsung” did win a little. But would it be enough to make up for the roughly $25 million to $30 million it spent on airtime, sponsored tweets, product placement and production cost? I am betting that the calculation will turn out to be a negative for them.

No, I think the true big winners in terms of ROI are Ellen, pizza chain Big Mama’s and Papa’s and Idina Menzel and her record company.

Ellen’s brand -- already strong to begin with, otherwise she wouldn’t be asked to present the Oscars -- went from being a very likeable afternoon talk show host to a culturally switched-on national icon.

Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza gave hope to all small-business owners. The delivery guy delivered perfectly. I am betting Mama’s and Papa’s has gained a lot of new customers in its delivery area.  At least for a short period of time, there will probably be tourists saying, “Let’s go to the pizza place from the Oscars.”

And Idina Menzel’s Oscar-winning song won even more attention and cultural presence thanks to John Travolta. I am sure iTunes sales will have spiked as a result of the “incident” and subsequent late-night repetition.

So what can brands learn from all of this? Can you “selfie yourself” to more brand sales or market share? I don’t think so.

John Wanamaker is often quoted as saying he knew he wasted 50% of his marketing efforts, but wasn’t sure which 50%. I am thinking that the $25 million to $30 million Samsung spent on the Oscars was wasted if measured against the metric of true sales impact. Perhaps (and that is a big “perhaps”) it worked a little in gaining them “share of love” or “share of hey-that’s-a-neat-phone.”

Which leads me to the conclusion that this year’s Oscars have, in marketing terms, become a Super Bowl event with the same kind of questionable marketing value: overrated, not questioned enough.

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4 comments about "Can Brands Selfie Themselves To Increased Market Share?".
  1. Ron Stitt from Fox Television Stations , March 10, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.
    With all due respect, you seem to have a very one-dimensional view of advertising & marketing, and how brands are built. If advertising Coke on pizza boxes was a "waste" of money, I think maybe Coke would have figured that out, oh, fifty years ago. They seem pretty like pretty smart marketers to me. Oh, and as far as Samsung goes, they're getting a lot of ink from you (among many others). This bottom of the funnel myopia is very common in digital advertising/tech circles, and as I've posted before, a big reason why the breakthroughs in budget re-allocations aren't happening (and the answer to the big "mystery" of why TV still commands the lion's share). p.s. re; the Wannamaker quote, seriously, we should all agree to give it a rest.
  2. Steve Goldner from Social Steve Consulting , March 10, 2014 at 1:37 p.m.
    What is the value of brand ads? What is the value of in product insertion? What is the value of brand social marketing? Well put them together and synergy exists. While the brand marketing at the Oscars may not turn immediate results, it is a good step forward in gaining attention and attraction. Then brands need to continue on the "A-Path" to gain affinity, audience, and advocacy. Consider the approach described at “Integrating Advertisements and Social Marketing – Why it is a Must” as discussed at http://wp.me/pxjrG-zv. Think marketing mix, not one trick operations. Social Steve
  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , March 10, 2014 at 3:13 p.m.
    It used be called image advertising, not designed as DR or measurable directly, only over time. No doubt there was some value in what the twits did, but measurable not so much and probably not the value paid since most people do not care. It's a phone jungle out there, choice and availability of pizza joints/beverage choices (even within the Pepsi-Coke families) are boggling. The women hit the bullseye, O & O's.
  4. Maarten Albarda from MLA Consulting LLC , March 10, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.
    I agree that the sum of all the parts adds up to something bigger and better, provided the sum of all the parts are smart, planned, strategic, creative, interesting, engaging, etc. I worked for Coca-Cola for 10 years (Japan, Germany and Atlanta/Global) and have always been involved in Integrated Marketing. In fact, I was one of the IMC (now "Liquid and Linked") architects. What I am reacting against in this case is the high cost of the Samsung effort, and what else/more/better they could have done with that kind of budget. I have always been a firm believer of treating my responsibility as that of an investment manager. I am working with someone else's money (brand budget, owned by the company that is my employer). And my role is to invest that money in a portfolio that, like an investment portfolio, has a measure of balance and is entirely ROI focused. The Samsung effort comes across as a very expensive one-off, which in the long run won't have a huge impact (my assessment - I could be wrong). Coke on a pizza box absolutely has a place. But that there is now a spat between ABC and Pepsi due to perceived Coke "product placement" (which was completely inadvertent and also a bit stupid on behalf of the show's producers) is not justified from a consumer POV. Both the Coke pizza box and the Pepsi broadcast sponsorship were just there in the eyes of consumers. They will have had very little long term/long tail effect (again, my assessment). I am definitely not a "let's move from on-air to online" or "let's move from analogue to digital" one track mind. Read my book "ZERO" (with Joseph Jaffe) if you don't believe me :-) Appreciate the feedback! It sharpens the mind (and the argument)!