Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie tweet, one of the highlights of the awards show, has now over three million retweets, far surpasing the previous record holder by US President Barack Obama. The selfie was captured with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which raised suspicion that Samsung – a major sponsor for this year’s Oscars – may have played a powerful PR stunt to promote its flagship phablet at the awards. Naturally, other smartphone makers began making fun of the selfie at Samsung’s expense.
Rumours are now saying that this whole thing could have possibly been a marketing stunt done by Samsung. Famous talk show host DeGeneres is often seen using an iPhone so the sight of her toting a Note 3 at the Oscars did raise some eyebrows among tech savvy observers. Furthermore, in the very next morning, DeGeneres then tweeted that she handed out Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phones to every member of the audience at her talk show, further making the whole thing more suspicious.
However, Samsung were quick to dispel any talk of a heavy-handed PR stunt. In a statement to TechCrunch, the Korean company stated that they did not pay DeGeneres for taking that picture, and instead mentioned that it was Ellen herself who decided to take the selfie with the device. And, since it received so much attention around the world, Samsung even decided to donate a total of US$3million to two charity organizations chosen by DeGeneres.
Here’s Samsung’s statement in full:
“While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking. A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected. In honor of this epic moment and of course, the incredible response of nearly 3 million re tweets, we wanted to make a donation to Ellen’s charities of choice: St Jude’s and the Humane Society. Samsung will donate 1.5 million dollars to each charity.”
Of course, that statement came after other smartphone makers had their fun at Samsung’s expense. First it was Nokia USA (@NokiaUS) who replied to DeGeneres’ tweet earlier in the day of a very blur selfie, saying “Let’s do away with blurry photos, Ellen!”; possibly hinting that she should have used a Nokia PureView camera.
LG joined in a little later with a tweet saying “If only Ellen had a G2 she would’ve taken this selfie herself”. The LG G2 is the first ever smartphone to put the power button and volume rocker (which also doubles as a camera shutter button) at the back of the phone, making it a whole lot easier to capture pictures with its front facing camera.
Finally, not wanting to miss out, Lenovo also replied to Ellen’s tweet, saying that “No long arms needed when u have #MyVibe”, along with a picture of the Lenovo Vibe Z that features a 5MP front-facing camera with 84-degree wide angle lens, allowing more people to fit into a group selfie such as Ellen’s.
What do you think? Impromptu PR stunt or just movie stars having fun?