Samsung claims they didn’t pay for Ellen’s Galaxy Note 3 selfie during the Academy Awards [UPDATE]


Ellen Samsung Galaxy Note 3 selfie

In case you missed it, last night was the 86th annual Academy Awards hosted by everyone’s favorite daytime talk show star, Ellen DeGeneres. You may remember our post from last night where — as many of you noticed — Ellen was live tweeting from the event using a large, pleathery Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Like anyone paid to endorse a product, this didn’t mean the Note 3 was her daily driver, made apparent by the fact that while backstage, Ellen was back to tweeting from her trusty iPhone.

The fact that the Note 3 made an appearance for the event didn’t really strike us as odd given Samsung was a paid sponsor of the Oscars — even airing the first two Samsung Galaxy S5 commercials during the show. While we may not ever actually see the official bill ABC left with Samsung, you may find it interesting to know that the Korean manufacturer is actually denying paying for the epic selfie moment during the live show.

According to Samsung, they didn’t actually pay Ellen anything to show off the phablet or take the much publicized mid-show “selfie” using the device. Samsung’s official statement? The entire thing was completely “organic.”

Of course, we should note that Samsung did say that because they were so pleased with Ellen being a Note 3 fan, they were now donating $3 million to Ellen’s favorite charities. So, while the talk show host didn’t directly benefit from using the device during the awards, money was paid out.

We saw a lot of great actors take home the Oscar last night, but if there was an award for “Best PR speak from and Android OEM” — perhaps it should have went to Samsung? There’s always next year…



According to “sources familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Samsung and their media buying firm did make an agreement with ABC to incorporate the device into the Academy Awards itself — not just during the commercial breaks.

The deal is said to have cost Samsung upwards of $20 million dollars and at one point involved a short documentary of budding young film makers all equipped with Samsung devices (although the clip never aired). In regard to Ellen’s epic Oscar selfie, apparently Samsung execs met with her backstage to help get her better acquainted with the phablet and it’s photo taking capabilities.

After that, the world’s most star-studded selfie took place, with a Samsung phone also sharing in the spotlight. Sounds like money well spent, which is puzzling given Samsung’s public denial.

[TechCrunch | WSJ]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. oh sure, i totally believe you, samsung

  2. lets say they did, so what? advertising costs money, who knew?

    you think apple didnt pay for all the times their products were used on various TV shows?

    business as usual.

    1. That’s not the point of this article. Everyone expected Samsung paid a buttload of money to feature the phone live during the show. It was a given.

      What’s interesting or “article worthy” if you will is Samsung is denying paying for product placement, claiming it was totally organic. As if Ellen just happened upon a Note 3 backstage, and began using it live on air.

      It’s just a weird (almost silly) thing to deny, especially when — as you mentioned — paid product placement is so common place. *shrugs*

      1. Amen

      2. I understand it this way:
        They paid for the phablet being used in some way. And if it was a selfie, or something else, that happened spontaneously. I think you can rely on a person like Ellen to come up with something smart when the opportunity presents itself.

    2. I see Apple products in TV shows and Movies everywhere. Apple is just as guilty if not more guilty of it.

      1. You should do some research. Apple as a rule doesn’t pay for product placement. They will give out free products to shows etc to use for product placement but will not go out of their way to PAY for that privilege.

        1. From what I’ve read, Apple does not at all give out free products. As if Apple would ever give anything away for free.

        2. repeating it 100 times doesn’t make it more true. I knew someone who worked on 24. They payed a SHITLOAD!

          1. Another troll. PLEASE PLEASE show me a figure. Like I said above.

            You can’t even defend a position with facts? The most recent was from COURT order documents from the Samsung trial. You know… like if they lied they would be held in contempt?

            Why not do a search? Just search ‘how much does Apple spend on product placement’. Oh I get it. You DID. And you found articles like this


            But you didn’t like what you saw so you IGNORED the FACTS. Talk about trolls… please.

    3. Actually Apple doesn’t pay for product placement. Why not do a search before claiming something? But you are right that product placement IS business as usual. Just wish Samsung would have admitted to that instead of going on the defense and saying it was ‘organic’…

      1. father Apple says they don’t pay for anything and you believed it…

        troll harder please.

        1. You can’t even defend a position with facts? The most recent was from COURT order documents from the Samsung trial. You know… like if they lied they would be held in contempt?

          Why not do a search? Just search ‘how much does Apple spend on product placement’. Oh I get it. You DID. And you found articles like this


          But you didn’t like what you saw so you IGNORED the FACTS. Talk about trolls… please.

          1. One of Apple’s employees works closely with Hollywood on so-called product placement so its gadgets are used in movies and television shows, Schiller said.

          2. all this and other articles say is they’ve been doing this product placement a lot and rely heavily on it all while the company itself CLAIMS they don’t pay for it without providing any proof that they don’t.

            so again..

            father apple says they don’t pay for anything and you believed it.

            keep up the good troll.

          3. And what else are you going to go by? Yeah, all these years Apple has been paying $$$$$$ for product placement… yet not a single TV show or movie has claimed that. NOT A ONE. Not even ONE leak. ALL THESE YEARS. You are sooo funny and delusional. Don’t forget to take your head out of the sand once in a while.

  3. Hmm, let’s see, she used Note on stage so everyone could see, and then used her iPhone to tweet backstage: http:// pic.twitter.com/rp5Mt1sYsx

    Of course Samsung has nothing to with it.

    1. explains why that picture looks crap compared to the notes :D

      1. Well… gotta admit the lighting out front was probably better.

  4. She may have been given the phone by Samsung but the way that actually
    played out on air and the stars involved could not have been scripted. That’s what Samsung is saying.

  5. yeah…I don’t know who half those people are

    1. Not a big movie buff?

    2. I can name all but two (the black ones, whatever that means)

      1. Before you’re labeled a racist, they are new actors so I’ll let it slide ;)

        1. Phew… saved by the chavez

          1. Racist!!!!

        2. I’m doing it. Racist.

        3. The one right of Ellen looks like Steve Urcle

          1. That’s Lupita Nyong’o brother. I don’t think he’s an actor at all, but yes, he looks like Steve Urkle’s long lost Kenyan cousin.

      2. I can’t name a 10th of em :P

  6. Rule #1 in electronics journalism school: NEVER trust Samsung in anything they ever say. Ever.

    Remember the whole “ohhh no we don’t hire people to go out and badmouth Apple… not us! Never!!”

    1. They’ve become worse than Apple, seriously

  7. so the f— what?

  8. Seems a big deal is being made from something that really isn’t that big of a deal. Why would that even be a question someone wanted to ask Samsung?

    1. it’s because The Next Big Deal is Here

      1. Touché, my good man.

      2. Make that, “The next big ASS thing is here”. Not to be confused with,”The next big GAME CHANGING thing,” to be released in the near future by Apple.

        1. really… iphones, look and feel the same since the day they came out. Apple execs have even complained about the stagnation of it. The note series pens changed the phablet market. They have better battery life than an iphone by far.

  9. This is still news? Umm can we move on already? You know….something more interesting?

    1. Companies pay for product placement all of the time. The ABC show “Nashville” uses only iPhones. The ABC show “Super Fun Night” uses only Samsung products.

      1. I meant that more in line with Samsung claiming they didn’t do something, but all the evidence pointing to the fact that they did. In the case of the link I posted, they were actually found guilty of it. So far in this case, they haven’t been officially outed (either by their own admission, or hard proof from some other entity).

        1. Start by learning to read. THey said they didnt pay her……Not saying they didnt pay ABC…..So theres no lying or anything here. But you read want you want to read….

          1. Yes, because it’s completely impossible for Samsung to say they didn’t pay Ellen, when they actually might/could have. It’s like all the convicts who say “I’m innocent”, despite hard proof saying otherwise. All the evidence we’ve got so far (which admittedly is limited) contradicts what Samsung stated they didn’t do, such as jason98’s comment about Ellen using her iPhone backstage for other selfies, but the Note 3 exclusively for that 1 infamous selfie.

          2. what it comes down to is, what is better for pr? an unpaid event? or a paid one?

  10. What is amazing is someone using a note 3 and then go back to an iPhone.

    1. It’s much too big. The size of the iPhone is much more suitable for her hands, is my guess. That phone is grossly oversized and a bigger screen isn’t the only or always a compelling reason to buy.

      1. Yeah…for you maybe. LOL

      2. I have that phone and it’s actually more comfortable than the s4 for me. It’s actually a bit narrower than the note 2, or feels that way. plus you may not think much of the screen increase until you try it. I never watched movies on my s4, but this hits some kind of size threshold where I watch Netflix on it all the time. Plus the pen is really what sells this series. The handwriting functions are fantastic, not to mention the art app it comes with is amazing. Full layer capability, everything. I don’t even carry an art pad anymore.

    2. Anything running TouchWiz would have me racing to an iPhone

      1. So ditch the touchwiz. I use smartlauncher on mine. Clean, simple, and auto organizes your apps.

    3. lol yea. Though it was probably too big for her to handle… wink wink nudge nudge…

    4. A simple phone for simple people…

  11. note 3 FTW ,its front cam is better than iphones back camera ,ahahaha

  12. Samsung has the best tech team (along with Google), not the best PR team, obviously.

  13. Oh my gosh people! You can tell this article was written by a tech person and not an attorney.

    Read what was said: Samsung said that they didn’t pay Ellen. Again…ELLEN! They actually paid ABC. Samsung did not lie…technically. Donating to Ellen’s favorite charity….technicality legally. PR people know what to say and HOW to say it.

    1. Isn’t it one and same ? Pay with right hand or left. Pay directly or indirectly. Samsung seems desperate…

      1. No, it’s not. Paying Ellen goes to her bank account. Paying a charity funds they would have not received otherwise is an ENTIRELY different thing. Don’t let your hate of Samsung cloud your sense of logic.

    2. Exactly this. I HIGHLY doubt the host of the host of the Oscars would be allowed to make his/her own side agreements to personally promote various products throughout the show for his/her OWN financial benefit.

      The product placement deal was obviously made with ABC itself, who just told Ellen what to do.

  14. Not sure where the great product placement is, given it’s nearly impossible to tell what brand this is to the average viewer.

  15. Ah who cares.

  16. For those that say Apple does the same thing. Apple does NOT pay for product placement. Just search ‘how much does apple spend on product placement’ and you’ll see tons of articles.

    Having said that. This is nothing new. Product placement has been around forever. Why Samsung can’t just admit that confuses me though. Did you read the article from Samsung saying it was ‘organic’? Please please Samsung! You make great products. It’s time to get your PR department in order. Your marketing and PR stinks!

    1. First of all, Apple pays for TONS of product placement. Everyone does when they get a new product out. Second, when they were asked if the selfie was paid for they probably took it to mean “was the whole thing staged?” which the answer was no. It was “organic” meaning Ellen put it all together on the fly after they showed her how to use the camera backstage. It was unlikely this was rehearsed in any way. So in reality, both statements were true. Saying “yes we paid for it” would have cut the value of it in half or worse. By telling people they didn’t pay for that specific event, which was true, they doubled the value of that PR payment. The fact that Ellen had 20 minutes with the device before that also really speaks to the ease of a new user getting the hang of it.

      1. Hard to argue with a guy who doesn’t know the difference between paying for advertising(like commercials) and paying for product placement. Please show me an article that shows how much Apple spends on PRODUCT PLACEMENT.

        Second. Your idea of ‘technically’ true is ridiculous. You can be ‘technically’ true of many things but on the face of it it just seems so shady. If you can’t see that many people LIKE Samsung products. But DISLIKE how they handle things. Even if ‘technically’ true… well like I said. Can’t help you there.

        FYI. As I’ve stated in a post below. Apple will gladly give products to be shown in TV and Movies. But they will NOT pay for that privilege.

        1. The bottom-line:

          “One of Apple’s employees works closely with Hollywood on so-called product placement so its gadgets are used in movies and television shows, Schiller said.”


          1. That is absolutely true. Can’t argue with that.

        2. Apple may not pay, but they actively push deals to ensure their products are in TV and movies. In 1996, Apple was desperate and made a deal to put their products in the movie Mission Impossible. They didn’t pay, but they definitely are aware and actively peddle to get their products seen.

          Also, Apple does push their products into schools. Everywhere from elementary to college. They whore themselves trying to be relevant there

          This seemingly utopian place where Apple products serendipitously appear on screen is completely false

          1. Not sure what the point of your post was. The point was whether or not Apple pays for product placement or not. Nobody said they didn’t have an interest in having their products showcased. Nobody said Apple products ‘serendipitously appear on screen’. Nobody said Apple doesn’t try to get their products in schools. Seriously. Trying to completely change the subject much?

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