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The Oscars selfie: Talent needs tech, just as tech needs talent

As the world over has woken up to the picture of Ellen DeGeneres surrounded by her famous friends, James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett, takes a closer look at the brand behind the moment.

Ellen DeGeneres' selfie at the Oscars

Ellen DeGeneres' selfie at the Oscars

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So Ellen DeGeneres got Bradley Cooper to reach out an arm as far as he could, and using a Samsung Galaxy has now taken the wold's most famous selfie.

It has become the most talked-about event from the Oscars, belittling the fantastic achievements of countless thespians because it is such a priceless image. Around 2.5m retweets later, the ripple of Samsung's Oscar selfie exposure is still working its way around the globe as more countries wake up, see it in their streams and smile all over again.

In short, if you piece together an absurd amount of infamous Hollywood talent into one scene stealing second and take a picture, you'll end up with social media gold dust. 

There is a reason, however, that we should rightly reflect on this, and it isn't just because those of us in marketing now have a different slide to include in presentations now, instead of that Oreo one. We've instead seen in a nutshell the true power of combining technology, talent and an "always on" brand.

Lazy approach

For too many years, celebrity talent have been naively underused by advertising and brands. A lazy approach has meant wooden looking actors and pop stars marketing products with questionable appetite.

Samsung were astute enough to get their product into the hands of the Oscars' host Ellen DeGeneres.

Twitter's emergence as the world's communication medium (amongst other things) gave us all an uncanny close proximity to the celebrities and talent who'd previously been so unattainable. No longer just the preserve of the billboard, we're able to see the sides of them which make them less manicured and altogether more, 'human'.

Then the flipping of the smart phone camera saw the true dawn of the selfie, which has proved its part in the fabric of culture by now even being present as a word in the Oxford English Dictionary. Our newspapers and magazines show us that selfie culture is everywhere, and everyone from Obama to The Pope has indulged us by taking down the usual barriers and rules of celebrity and shown us their more real profile. 

Last night we were given the equation on how to engineer the perfect way to "market the moment"; Samsung were astute enough to get their product into the hands of the Oscars' host Ellen DeGeneres.

Hollywood magic

But beyond solely badging an evening like so many brands, it is the empowerment afforded to the talent which is key to its success. It is something we've seen brands like Red Bull do for years, never just slapping a logo onto an event but ensuring the talent truly harness what it is about the brand or product which makes it brilliant. 

What better example of this than the chosen talent taking a moment to use the brand to capture true Hollywood magic. In an awards show celebrating craft and years of film making ardour, there is a beautiful twisted irony in 2.5 million retweets of an image captured in a second. 

Brands can learn by trusting the talent they work with, whether they're big or small. It might be a small scale You Tube influencer or a Hollywood star, but brands should adopt the same approach of empowering their chosen talent with the use of the technology absolute. 

Our other learning from this moment is how talent and tech work so well together too. Talent needs tech as much as tech needs talent. What can be more seductive to a potential new user of tech than your heroes playing centre stage in creations the worlds biggest re-tweet competition. After all, nothing has more contemporary kudos than a couple of million retweets, does it? 

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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