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Todd Smith’s SPIN CYCLE — Top Marketing Moments of the Oscars

The 2014 Oscar Awards had some truly Silver Screen moments — With “Gravity,” “12 Years A Slave” and “Dallas Buyers Club” stealing much of the show. While the golden guys were being handed out, Twitter was abuzz with real-time Oscar marketing.

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

Many organizations — including Digiday, a digital media, marketing and advertising firm — buzzed about it through social media and live blogging. Sure, there were a plethora of canned tweets, bad puns and other marketing gimmicks. There were also some grand Hollywood moments.

Through experts at Digiday, other sources and The Spin Cycle, here’s a snapshot of the five best real-time marketing moments of the 86th Academy Awards.

1. Ellen’s star-studded selfie — Ellen DeGeneres was a solid host — but her big moment of the night required a little help from her friends. DeGeneres gathered a who’s who of A-listers from the audience around her — Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Letto, Lupita Nyong’o and her brother, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep and Channing Tatum — and snapped a self-portrait with them and promptly tweeted it out. Before the evening had ended, the selfie became the most retweeted photo ever — surpassing even President Barack Obama’s “four more years” tweet. DeGeneres had wracked up 2.5 million retweets overnight and more than a million favorites — the tweet even caused Twitter to briefly crash. It was also a much needed boost to Twitter itself, which could use some more mainstream appeal.

2. Arby’s continues Pharrell hat buzz — Pharrell Williams’ much-buzzed-about Vivienne Westwood hat from the Grammy’s went up for auction in late February. In a stroke of lucky timing for the fast food chain, the auction wrapped on Oscar day — and guess who won. Pharrell thanked Arby’s in a tweet, which responded by wishing the Oscar nominee luck on his big night. The $44,100 that Arby’s spent for the hat will go to the charity. But Arby’s itself was the beneficiary of more than 6,100 retweets and more than 4,000 favorites.

3. NASA’s real-life gravity tweets — “Gravity” was awarded a handful of Oscars, and no brand was a bigger cheerleader than NASA. The space agency spent the night cleverly tweeting out real facts and cool images relating to gravity using the hashtag #RealGravity — totally on-brand for NASA. The tweets generated a good amount of engagement, like this tweet which got more got more than 8,100 retweets and more than 3,900 favorites:

Congrats on another win at ‪#Oscars2014 ‪#Gravity for cinematography. Here’s the ‪#RealGravity – Earth from ‪#ISS

9:28 PM – 2 Mar 2014

4. Big Mama’s & Papa’s Oscar moment —The local pizza joint got major free publicity when Ellen decided to order delivery pizza for hungry attendees — regular folks like Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford. The pizza place tweeted out a simple thank you tweet to Ellen, which has gotten more than 460 retweets and more than 400 favorites. We’re guessing Big Mama and Big Papa will be fielding a lot more big orders soon. Oh, and if they want some help with their real-time marketing efforts, MRY has offered its services.

5. Chobani threw some shade — Chobani prefers to keep its tweets as authentic — and its buzz as organic — as its yogurt. Rather than fawning over celebrity outfits and pandering to Oscar winners on Twitter, the Greek yogurt brand did a little sly anti-Academy marketing. It even used the trending #oscars hashtag, just to troll the awards show.


Samsung’s Marketing Strategy Behind The Preplanned Oscar Selfie

Samsung Electronics Co. spent an estimated $20 million on ads to run during breaks in the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night – but it absolutely got more promotional traction from Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres during the show itself.

DeGeneres toyed with a white Samsung phone throughout the broadcast, including when she handed a Galaxy Note 3 to actor Bradley Cooper so he could take the “selfie” heard round the Twittersphere! The photo also included including 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 a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was told its devices would get airtime. The origin of the “selfie” shot played out like this: Ms. DeGeneres, in the days leading up to the broadcast, decided she wanted to take “selfies” during the show and ABC suggested she use a Samsung since it was a sponsor, the paper said.

Having products appear in a program — product placement — has been a part of the TV business, and movies, since the early days of the mediums.

But it has become a more popular marketing technique in recent years as ad-skipping via digital video recorders has prompted marketers to look for ways to break free of the confines of the commercial break.

Ad-skipping is far less common during live events such as the Academy Awards, Even so, advertisers say, product placement combined with ad buys help viewers better remember the products being promoted.

At the same time, TV networks typically reserve such product placement for big spending advertisers, according to media buyers. Samsung was one of the biggest sponsors of this year’s Oscars broadcast, buying five minutes of commercial time.


Can Super Bowl Message Save Struggling Radio Shack?

Radio Shack recently announce the planned closing of nearly one in four of its stores nationwide after reporting a mammoth fourth quarter loss.

The electronics retailer said its quarterly earnings for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013 were lower than expected — $935.4 million in sales during the all-important holiday season, down 20 percent from $1.1 billion a year earlier.

In the wake of the poor performance, Radio Shack announced plans to close up to 1,100 U.S. stores — more than twice as many as reported last month. The company did not say when or where the planned closures would happen, but nearly 4,000 stores are expected to stay open, including 900 dealer franchise locations.

The company’s chief executive officer pointed to its popular 2014 Super Bowl ad as a good sign it can recover.

“We have also been encouraged by the positive response to our new brand positioning around ‘Do It Together,’ which we kicked off with our award-winning Super Bowl commercial,” CEO Joseph C. Magnacca said in a statement. “Importantly, our key hires during the fourth quarter in merchandising, global sourcing, planning and allocation and, more recently, our new chief financial officer, round out our new leadership team as we continue to re-build the business.”

While brand recognition certainly helped Radio Shack stand out from the crowd during the 2014 Super Bowl, some worried it suggested the company was still stuck in the ‘80s. Viewers got nostalgic when they saw celebrities like Hulk Hogan, Alf, Kid ‘N’ Play, Mary Lou Retton and the Chucky doll from “Child’s Play” tearing up the store, still stocked with VCRs, fax machines and old school boom boxes.


Blushing Mic | Barbie Gives Girl Scouts Black Eye

Just weeks after her foray into the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, Barbie is entangled in controversy again, this time over her ties with the Girl Scouts.

Two advocacy groups often critical of corporate advertising tactics – the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream – have urged the Girl Scouts of the USA to end its partnership with the doll’s manufacturer, the Mattel toy company.

The partnership, announced last August, includes a Barbie-themed activity book, a website, and a Barbie participation patch – the first Girl Scout uniform patch with corporate sponsorship.

The Barbie patch — targeted at 5- to 8-year-old Daisies and Brownies — would transform these girls into “walking advertisements” and injects too much corporate America into this wholesome American institution.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

By Todd Smith

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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