The Real Winners of The Oscars

Now that the red carpet has been rolled back up, designer dresses and tuxes returned and jewels back in their secure cases, it is time to talk about the Oscar winners. No, not
Matthew and Cate or Jared and Lupita, it was a handful of brands that stole the spotlight and had people talking about them for weeks after the show.
While several of our brand winners paid extravagantly for the honor (aka, were a sponsor for the evening), others unexpectedly walked away with a ton of coverage and engagement but with little to no investment of their budget. Below is a breakdown of the top winners:
1. Samsung (and Apple)
Our first winner of the night is Samsung. The company spent an estimated $20 million on airtime during the breaks and also included on-air product placement as part of their sponsorship. But their biggest break of the night came when Ellen Degeneres, the host for the evening, used their Note 3 device to take the most Tweeted selfie ever:
While Samsung had the lock on the Oscars due to their exclusive sponsorship, Apple definitely earns an honorable mention for the night. In an ironic twist of events, the brand received plenty of mentions in the social space when it was revealed that Ellen also tweeted and posted behind-the-scenes pics from her own iPhone.
2. Twitter
The tweet that broke Twitter. Not many companies can turn a 20-minute internet disruption into something to brag about, but Twitter did. After taking the above mentioned selfie, Ellen tweeted it from her account and challenged the Twitter universe to help it become the most retweeted post ever. And well before the night was over, the goal was achieved with the picture getting retweeted over 2 million times. While Twitter sent out an apology for the disrupted service, it should have sent a Thank You to the talk show star. As one of my friends tweeted,”Facebook officially lost the social TV war tonight.”
3. Big Mama’s & Big Papa’s Pizzeria
Ellen Degeneres seemed to lend a hand in supporting several brands throughout the Oscars telecast. But one of the more surprising plugs came when she had a pizza delivery guy – Edgar – from Big Mama’s and Big Papa’s Pizzeria step out into the audience with her to hand out 10 boxes of the delicious slices to the top stars in Hollywood. A long-time fan of the restaurant, Degeneres called up the local chain around 5pm and made what the restaurant thought was a regular order. Little did they know they would not only receive their payment for the pies but also get two full minutes of TV time with 43 million viewers –  estimated at just under $11 million in free advertising.
4. Coca-Cola
As with Samsung, Pepsi was the official soft drink advertiser for the Oscars. But Coca-Cola received plenty of airtime thanks to the show’s bit with the pizza delivery (see above). Apparently, Coca-Cola has had a long-standing relationship with the pizzeria, and its logo is printed on several sides of the pizza box. With the extended airtime, TV audiences not only saw their favorite stars chowing down on a slice, but Coca-Cola also got their name on screen without paying a dime extra.
5. The Ellen Degeneres Show
The last winner of the night should be no surprise considering she was the host. But there is nary a past host of the Oscars that has been able to leverage this gig to its full potential. Many former hosts have been comediennes (Billy Chrystal, Steve Martin, Chris Rock), TV personalities (Ellen Degeneres, Jon Stewart, Seth MacFarlane) or stars themselves (Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway), but not even Ellen’s earlier stint on the show seemed to connect as easily to their day job as it did this year. Besides getting innumerable mentions on Twitter from well-wishers, The Ellen Degeneres Show was able to extend the Oscars halo by not only having some of the winners visit the show, she also had the pizza delivery man on to give him his $1,000 tip! All of this added up to a ratings record for the episode following the Oscars, over 13M Facebook likes, most retweeted selfie and a #1 trending video on YouTube.
All in all, I think these brands had a pretty good night…especially since we are still talking about them.
With contributions by Rae Ann Fisch 
Photo credit: TwitterDaily Mail 


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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