The Selfie Seen Around the World: Sponsor Rights Mishaps at the Oscars

Veronica_Watson_MacDonell_web101 Veronica Watson MacDonell, Consultant & Brand Builder

I am not going to lie… I love award show season. I set myself up on the couch, popcorn in hand, dead set on not missing a moment of the action. From the red carpet to see who was best dressed, to the show itself to see who will walk away with the statue, I am glued to the action.

Last night, the real winner was undoubtedly the most celebrity infused selfie ever.


The tweet brought in nearly 2.8 million retweets, breaking RT records previously set by Obama and literally breaking Twitter, leaving users without services for 20 minutes or so in the middle of the show. Best of all, the selfie was noticeably taken by a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, one of the sponsors of the Oscars.

This is great example of authentic product integration. Every time Ellen took a photo, we got a clear shot of the Samsung logo in her hand. However, the host’s use of the phone didn’t continue backstage where Ellen was tweeting using her iPhone. While most viewers of the awards wouldn’t have caught onto to the device switch up, you can bet Samsung will try to weave exclusive usage of the device into their next Oscar deal.

The selfie wasn’t the only noteworthy moment for a sponsor, or non-sponsor, at the event. When Ellen ordered pizzas for some hungry movie stars, the pizza was delivered in boxes branded with the Coca-Cola marks. What great logo placement for a sponsor like Coke! But wait, Coke isn’t a sponsor of the Oscars any more – rival Pepsi is the official beverage sponsor of the event. How do you think that slips through the cracks? Front Row Analytics even valued the air time at $1.4 million!  That has got to sting for Pepsi.

Social media integration into televised events like the Oscars, brings the viewing experience alive for the average Joe at home. But for sponsors, and the agencies that represent them, it is incumbent upon us to be aware of where each brand will (and could possibly) appear to ensure competitors aren’t stealing any of your spotlight.