Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HometechnologyCashing in on the selfie: Fortune maker or fad?

Cashing in on the selfie: Fortune maker or fad?

3,399,090. That's the number of times (so far) that Ellen DeGeneres' infamous "Oscars selfie" has been retweeted.

Ellen takes this selfie with fellow celebrities at the Academy Awards 2014.Ellen DeGeneres

That selfie – taken at this year's Oscars and featuring the likes of Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts – is the most retweeted tweet in history. While the picture showcased the proliferation of the selfie in the global zeitgeist, it was notable for another reason: Bradley Cooper, who took the shot, was using DeGeneres' Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

It was a major coup for Samsung, and the latest way to publicize your brand: get celebrities to use your product – not in an advert – but in real life.

Read MoreEllen's Oscar' selfie' crashes Twitter, breaks record

According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung spent $20 million on ads during the 86th Academy Awards, a figure Samsung declined to confirm.

However, the selfie was not part of the buy. Samsung said in an official statement it did not ask DeGeneres to take the picture. Rory O'Neill, the company's European marketing director, said Samsung saw the importance of allowing ambassadors like DeGeneres to use their phones "organically," rather than directing them.

"Yes, we sponsored the Oscars and yes, Ellen DeGeneres is an influential advocate and we provide devices to her. But in no way did we orchestrate or attempt to orchestrate what Ellen or any of our advocates do with our devices," he told CNBC by phone.

Eden Zoller, principal analyst, consumer practice at Ovum said the "Oscars selfie" was a gift for Samsung. She argued that, aside from price, branding was a key factor when people purchase a new phone.

"The Oscars was a dream come true," she said. "I think with smartphones all being fairly comparable it is about elusive branding; the cool factor that comes into play. The iPhone needs to barely advertise now because it had very slick and simple advertising originally."

The "Oscars selfie" came a few days after another smartphone manufacturer, HTC, launched the Desire 816. The company's chairwoman, Cher Wang, told CNBC that the phone would deliver "the world's best selfie."

Explaining the technology behind the selfie claim, Wang said that the front camera boasted 5 mega-pixels as well as built-in editing software to beautify selfies immediately.

Read MoreSmile! HTC aims to create the world's best 'selfie'

HTC has done something similar before. The HTC First was launched last April and dubbed the "Facebook phone," as it was the only Android handset to come with Facebook Home software. By May, AT&T announced it was discontinuing sales of the phone after a lack of interest.

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