Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfies were made of lies & product placements


Some people hated Ellen DeGeneres’ social media thing at the Oscars. She took a bunch of selfies, but the big one, the star-studded one with all of the celebrities, was a huge explosion on Twitter. Twitter crashed for a time last Sunday because of it. Personally, I thought the pizza bit was awkward and went on too long, but I liked the selfie part, because I thought it seemed like a cool “Celebs are just like us” moment and that one celeb-filled photo was and is really cool, a nice piece of Oscars ephemera. But what if the selfies are made of lies?! What if this was all just some high-level product placement?

Endearing, spontaneous moment or basic product placement? Host Ellen DeGeneres helped bring in record-breaking numbers on Sunday, March 2 with the live telecast of the 86th annual Academy Awards, which was watched by 43 million viewers according to the Hollywood Reporter. And one of her biggest moments of the night was when she rounded up 10 of Hollywood’s elite for an “impromptu” selfie — which in turn birthed the most retweeted item ever.

It began, of course, with DeGeneres asking Oscar winner Meryl Streep to participate in a selfie with her and then other winners and nominees like Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Lupita Nyong’o quickly jumped in.

But in plain view was the large white Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone Cooper used to take the photo. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t think this was a coincidence.

“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,” the Journal reports.

The site also reported that Samsung executives trained DeGeneres to use the Galaxy phone prior to the show.

“It was a great plug for the Samsung brand,” Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC told the Journal. “Ellen’s selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can’t buy that magic of going viral.”

[From Us Weekly]

See, if you told me that Twitter had laid down some serious cash for Ellen to post stuff live on air, I would believe you, because that’s what I came away with – that Twitter is everywhere now and that Twitter made a bit appearance at the Oscars. But in the week after the Oscars, no one was talking about the PHONE Ellen used. No one was like, “Damn, I need that phone.” Well, almost no one. After the Oscars, Ellen did tweet this:

So… yeah. This was all product placement for Samsung. The fairy tale is over. Christmas is canceled. There is no spontaneity left in the world. It’s all just advertising and consumerism.

Well, it’s all BS except for this. This, at least, was pure.



Photos courtesy of Ellen’s Twitter, VF’s Twitter, The Simpsons’ Twitter.

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103 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfies were made of lies & product placements”

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  1. Cleveland Girl says:

    So what?? I thought it was very cute and hilarious!

    • Crank says:

      Agreed! Plus if watched the Ellen show where she did backstage clips of the oscars, she seemed geniunly excited about the selfie stuff. Even if it was product placement, she pulled off really cool.
      I’m a sucker for the oscars, absolutely love them. The haters can just watch something else and avoid oscar posts, it’s not that hard (yes I know it called celebitchy lol, so I’m bitching about people bitching about oscars…sue me :P )

    • Stef Leppard says:

      Also… DUH! The show was sponsored by the Samsung Galaxy, they said so prior to commercials, so it was really obvious to me that it was a product placement, but isn’t everyone really used to that by now? Now that no one watches commercials, TV shows are full of obvious product placements.

      • emmie_a says:

        Exactly. It’s not like they kept the sponsorship a secret. And the selfies were still impromptu. It’s not like they rehearsed any of this. I don’t know why this is a story, unless it’s a story about a successful sponsorship.

        Plus Samsung was so happy w/the success of Ellen’s selfie that they donated $1 for every re-tweet to two charities she chose. They donated $3 million. Again, successful sponsorship leads to huge charity donation. All good.

      • gg says:

        this. Anybody believing every product used in any show nowadays is shown spontaneously is just the kind of rube they are looking for to sucker into buying their stuff. I have no problem with it.

      • Zigggy says:

        “Duh” was what I was coming to say- it was so obviously a Samsung placement, you’d have to be blind (and/or deaf) to not have noticed.

      • Delorb says:

        It was also obvious when she had no idea how to operate it. That is why Bradley took it from her and did it. If she’d used her own phone (as she did backstage), she would have known where to click. Duh!

      • Lucinda says:

        Thank you! It started with shows like Survivor and Apprentice but has expanded to dramas like Bones and Hawaii Five-0. It isn’t even very subtle but they do work the placement into the script so if you aren’t paying attention, you might think talking about a car’s back-up feature is an interesting tidbit to the story.

    • Megan says:

      Totally agree. It doesn’t change the fact that all those actors jumping in it was spontaneous. Obviously since the Oscar’s were sponsored by Samsung she was going to do stuff through out the show to promote it.

      I thought it was funny and cute.

      • Denise says:

        It’s nice that people enjoyed the shot, but saying so publicly just helps justify more of these empty moments masquerading as genuine, emotional events. What you don’t realise is that it never would have happened if not for the sponsor prompting them to do so. It’s not real. But you still love it. You just unwittingly demonstrated how branding works.

    • Fue McCormick says:

      What I find hilarious is Lupita’s brother is front and center while she’s hardly visible in the shot … (BTW: I have the phone and it is indeed, fabulous! A “phablet” if you will.)

  2. BeckyR says:

    I quit watching the Oscars years ago. The red carpet segment tedious. Too much focus on what people are wearing and not enough on the movies. Product placement and payola (money changed hands..millions) puts this once beloved event in the category of crass.

  3. Rhea says:

    Well, she was pulling her phone a lot during the show and samsung was one of the commercial during the break so it wasn’t really a surprise. It’s a clever advertising, I’d say.

  4. teehee says:

    I could give two craps about the oscars, but, the point remains that this is indeed sad. it does speak volumes about how this whole… “award” thing runs, though. Not depth but profit decides.

  5. Sixer says:

    And we are surprised about this? And we think Benny is pure? Oscars = crass. Surely we know this and we don’t give Benny the Photoshop a pass? Or is that just me being a misery guts as per?

  6. Mindy says:

    ……REALLY?!?! Say it isn’t SOOO!!!! (<—– sarcasm)

    Considering that Samsung ads were playing throughout the broadcast…. Considering that the phone she was using for the selfies isn't out on the market yet…. Considering AFTER the broadcast, she went back to using her IPHONE… how could ANYONE think that the 'selfie seen around the world' was anything BUT a product placement stunt?!

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. Even my 12 year old realized this. It’s the way things go these days, and as others have said Ellen pulled it off in a more clever, natural and original manner than most people probably would.

      • Myrto says:

        Sure, it’s the way things go, product placements, and all that biz.
        What puts me off is greed. Like, surely Ellen was paid for this (and for tweeting the whole thing) and my question is: really? You’re not rich enough? She did this for a few more million dollars? Because she needs it or something? I don’t know, at some point, when you’re crazy rich, don’t you, like, think it’s enough? (I’m not singling out Ellen, just talking in general).
        Appparently not. I find that kind of greed distasteful.

      • Dutch says:

        Don’t assume it was a personal services thing for Ellen. Samsung was a sponsor of the broadcast and the product placement was likely part of that deal. Ellen was just fulfilling the terms of her contract as host.

    • Scarlett says:

      It actually is on the market. I’ve had mine for over a month, and it’s my absolute favorite phone evah!

  7. Anna says:

    According to Harvey on TMZ Bradley actually owns the selfie and if anyone wants to use the picture for advertisement purposes in the future they have get his permission.. That kind of makes sense though since he did take the picture..
    I don’t think this is such a big deal though, I think all the celebs in the picture were doing it all on the spot and had no idea it was sponsored.. I’m sure Ellen was the only one in on it..

  8. mzizkrizten says:

    Everything Hollywood is product placement lol if you don’t know now you know!

  9. Sarah says:

    Gosh, the whole frakking show is one big advertisement. What’s the big deal now? That Ellen got even MORE money for the gig than she already did. Get over it, world.
    I thought it was a nice little effect, it was a good show and I am not sure anyone participating except for Ellen did actually figure about this being a product placement stunt. Whatever…

  10. Leigh says:

    I’m shocked that more people didn’t pick up on that the night of.
    I turned to my husband several times and said..”Why do I have the overwhelming urge to buy a Samsung product right now?”……… It was as plain as the nose on your face!

  11. eliza says:

    The Oscars have not been interesting in years. I am always thrilled when awards season is dunzo.

  12. Mia4S says:

    Wow there are people that actually thought that was genuinly innocent and spontaneous? That actually frightens me.

    ““Celebs are just like us” moments” are 99.9999999% of the time manipulative PR or product placement. Enjoy them if you wish but never make the mistake of buying into it (pardon the pun).

  13. Lucy2 says:

    Well their “product integration” (thanks 30 Rock!) didn’t work on me because I forwarded through the commercials and was oblivious to what kind of phone it was.

  14. Samantha25 says:

    I don’t see the scandal. Obviously taking selfies was pre-planned and probably the phone used but award shows and their stunts have to be scripted. The selfies themselves were probably genuine. If Ellen got with celebrities before the show I could understood the hostility but I think this is much ado about nothing. Besides, was anybody actually talking about the phone?

  15. John says:

    I can’t imagine everyone didn’t see through that. To waste THAT much time when acceptance speeches are regularly cut off was a major red flag, and the pizza bit was just dumb. You’re hosting, Ellen, not doing stand-up and commercials.
    She’s not a film actor/participant, she shouldn’t have been chosen as the host, anyway.

    • V4Real says:

      I agree that the pizza segment was dumb and it seems as if they were copying off The People’s Choice Awards. Kat Dennings had Cheeseburgers delivered to the audience. The Oscars doesn’t have any creativity, they had to repeat somthing that was already done about a month ago from another award show.

  16. Karen says:

    I would be shocked if it wasn’t a product placement.

    I didn’t recognize the phone she was using and knew right away it was a placement. If a celebrity isn’t using an iphone or a blackberry I just assume it’s an ad. Like Blake Lively “casually” playing with her phone all dressed up with her dogs in the park.

    Also the Oscars were so long and boring, I’ll never watch again.

  17. Bex says:

    They clearly said several times that Samsung was a key sponsor and she brought up the Samsung earlier, I thought. Maybe I picked up on it because I also have a white Note 3, but it seemed like a pretty standard promotional placement without lies. Everyone does it so it didn’t seem all that scandalous.

    The photo itself is still pretty cool.

  18. lisa2 says:

    It was a plan and not sure why no one knew it. Lupita’s brother in the shot was the part not planned.

    either way it was a cute and I liked it.

  19. Abby says:

    Meh, I don’t care. It was still cute.

  20. NewWester says:

    The pic with Homer Simpson is great!!! Love The Simpsons!!!!

  21. tamara says:

    Positive angle:
    Because of the number of times DeGeneres’ selfie was retweeted, Samsung decided to mirror the number by donating $3 million to charities. A lump sum of $1.5 million will each go to two charities of DeGeneres’ choosing: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and The Humane Society of the United States.

  22. Jen says:

    I think a “selfie” was planned, just not the one that was taken. I think Samsung wanted one with Meryl and Ellen with Meryl taking it. But I don’t think Meryl knew so, she invited Julia, then it became a “group selfie” spontaneously, otherwise, why would Liza have been so desperate in the back, and Leto was barely in it and bless Lupita’s brother, he almost knocked her down getting in to it and who the hell would have expected that. My clue was that Ellen kept asking Meryl to take the photo, but getting all those folks in it would have been impossible. Bradley Cooper literally grabbed the phone and took it. Who knows, and product placement is hardly something new–watch any movie and the Superbowl half time is even sponsored, so, don’t know why folks are surprised. Still a cute photo though.

  23. Evi says:

    A part of me says ‘so what, this is the reality of business today’, but another part of me is disappointed at the insincerity of it. Ellen is all about the buck in the end.

  24. M.A.F. says:

    I didn’t notice the commercials because I put the TV on mute. I did notice the phone, however, when she came out to take the selfie of her watching Streep from the stage. They plugged the phone then the pizza company (cute bit in the show but yes, I agree, it went on for too long). This should have been a conversation last week, not sure why we are having it now though.

  25. Samantha says:

    If you didn’t know it was a product placement gig the MINUTE she brought out the huge white phone… of course it was. But that doesn’t change anything for me, Still a cute moment.

  26. cro-girl says:

    Angelina looks well sweet!

  27. serena says:

    Who cares, I mean nobody was thinking about the phone used to take it. It is just one wonderful photo full of celebrity, who cares if Samsung was sponsoring it.

  28. watchmaker says:

    My eyes go directly to Kevin Spacey everytime I see this photo. His expression is simply priceless..

  29. Jaderu says:

    Wooo!!! Suki Steakhouse hit the motherload!
    Bradley owns the rights to the photo right? He needs to slap it on a T-shirt and a Trapper Keeper before next school year. I would. Do they still make Trapper Keepers?

  30. lenje says:

    So? Like everyone has said, it was obvious. Slate had even put a picture where Ellen pulled out her own iPhone after tweeting the selfie “sent from Samsung Galaxy Note” or something like that. Anyway, I use a Samsung S-4 and am loving it (no product placement here, but I won’t mind if Samsung contacts me for a possible “cooperation” LOL).

  31. zuzu says:

    I wouldn’t mind one bit, except for Julia Robert’s face. It scares me.

  32. Zbornak Syndrome says:

    “The new Samsung Galaxy! So easy to operate, even Bradley Cooper can manage!” That should be their next commercial.

  33. M says:

    DUH It was so obvious.
    I hope Ellen will not host again.

  34. qtpi says:

    I wonder how many people are hip enough to know exactly what phone she was using. The advert didn’t work for me – for all I knew it was an iphone and I never heard Samsung mentioned on the broadcast.

  35. CC says:

    Nothing is “sacred” and definitely not the Oscars who are a brand designed to sell movies.

    I don’t care, I found it funny, and I never buy anything based on adverts/commercials/product placement. Either I like it or I don’t. And I look at details of what exactly something can do, what’s included, what’s not included, what are the technical limitations.

    Sorry, I never “binged” anything! No matter how many programs try to weasel a homepage change to Bing and/or install ask.com. It’s always no, and if anything, for that reason alone. Google all the way until something better comes along.

    The Simpsons “selfie” is funny. YOINKED!

  36. lunchcoma says:

    This surprises people? I didn’t like Ellen’s hosting in general, but it shouldn’t be a shocker that she worked some product placement into it. I’d agree it’s not especially effective product placement, but Samsung has always seemed a little desperate in their advertising.

  37. TheCountess says:

    I said it the other day in the Batkid post: Ellen was a terrible host, and responsible for a terrible show. Bring back Hugh Jackman, import Stephen Fry, steal Amy & Tina from the HFPA, do whatever it takes, but do not bring Ellen back in 2015.

  38. Lucy says:

    OMFG NO WAY. So? It was awesome nonetheless.

  39. Mayhem14 says:

    It seemed to me that the planned joke was for Ellen to request a selfie with Meryl – a riff on Meryl’s very popular selfie with Hilary Clinton (or maybe that was too long ago). Anyway, it definitely seemed that the bit was supposed to be about Meryl, but other celebs got in on it – and Bradley Cooper was a dog with a bone about getting his hands on the phone. If anything, I give kudos to Ellen for handling the change of plan with such aplomb.

    As for the product placement – I didn’t pay any attention to the type of phone, to me all phones look pretty much the same. I’m sure I’m not the only person like that. I did notice the prominent Coke logo on those pizza boxes and apparently they WEREN’T a sponsor so go figure.

  40. Canoki says:

    As soon as I saw the billboard for Samsung I knew it was done on purpose, the fact that all the stars jumped in was a bonus. No big deal, except Ellen was apparently using her iphone behind the scenes…

  41. drea says:

    I agree with all the others. It was obvious that it was a Samsung deal, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that all THOSE other people played along and wanted to get in on the fun. And that’s what made it special.

  42. Nikita says:

    Wow, apple is sooooo pi$$ed by that great productplacement that they started this hating in the www against that selfie and everybody is jumping on that waggon. Really, who cares, it was funny and pr should be funny. They are making a big deal of it. We have no other issues right? Dear apple, get over it. Im still using my iphone i dont care who took that selfie, lg htc samsung etc.

  43. Anon says:

    So that’s why she wanted to keep her hands on the phone and not let Cooper take the shot? I don’t think the rest of the celebs were in on it, though. I mean, I doubt Angelina gets what a selfie even is…she waved…at the people.

  44. moot says:

    For those who didn’t see the show right from the start, Ellen came right out and said that she was tweeting on her Samsung Galaxy all night, thank you, Samsung.

    So why is this shocking news?

  45. Izzy says:

    Meh. Who cares?

    On another note, how did I miss that EPIC photobomb of Cumby and U2? Awesome!

  46. rudy says:

    The cell phone itself was staged but not the final selfie. That is pure serendipity…like Nupita’s brother being front and center. It was worth all the commerciality just for that.

  47. Kelly says:

    I love how they’re all sooo good at what they do that they make you forget it’s HOLLYWOOD and the whole freaking thing is a SHOW with PERFORMERS acting their way through and performing rehearsed scenarios for our entertainment, and more importantly, for their six figure paychecks.
    Gotta love the way Kaiser always manages to incorporate The Batch randomly :D
    p.s. his photobomb was apparently a request from a friend so there you have it, NOTHING IS SPONTANEOUS, lol, but how do people keep forgetting that, they’re all ACTORS, my god

  48. Isadora says:

    I’m honestly surprised that anybody would have thought it was NOT a product placement gig for Samsung.

    Plus: The selfies? The pizza? I mean it was the Oscars, so of course everything is staged. Did I find it particularly refreshing, inspiring or funny? Not really. It’s probably a personal fault of mine, but I still don’t get why a selfie of all these people at the Oscars is so impressive or great. So we have a bunch of famous people in a photo. Ok. Wonderful.

    BUT…. what I absolutely love about it, is that it crashed Twitter. Really, THAT was funny. I wish people would do it more often haha..

  49. Skye says:

    People who use the word “impactful” must be stopped. That is all.

  50. car54 says:

    Ellen announced on her show the day after that Samsung donated a dollar per re-tweet to charity. At that time it was almost $2 million, and she chose St Judes and some animal charity for the 2 charities the money would go to.

    She openly does product placement all the time, but she usually makes the sponsors give something to some cause or to someone in need tied in to it.

  51. Karen says:

    Of course it was! Oscars need to get that dough! I love it.