On Sunday March 2nd, I ordered a pizza and stayed up late to watch the 86th Academy Awards on TV. Together with 43 million others worldwide. In case you weren’t one of them, I’ll give you a short update from a Gen Y perspective. Who is the big winner of this year’s Oscars?
It’s not Leonardo DiCaprio. He was nominated for Best Actor but didn’t get to take home the award. Instead, it went to his fellow ‘The Wolf’ star Matthew McConaughey for his role in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. From my Twitter timeline and Facebook feed, I could tell the Internet was devastated that Leo (again) did not win his first (!) Oscar. The past few weeks it had been the subject of many Facebook groups, tweets, memes and GIFs. After all, Millennials grew up with Titanic, Romeo + Juliet, Gangs of New York, or more recently: Inception. Maybe we should call them Generation Y-the-heck-did-Leo-not-win-an-Oscar-yet?
It is definitely not Liza Minelli either. She missed out on getting in the most retweeted image of all time. At one point in the live show, host Ellen DeGeneres took a group picture that many Millennials consider to be the most epic #selfie so far. It has been retweeted over 3.2 million times and counting. By comparison: the previous record – set by Barack Obama’s ‘Four more years’ photo – counted only 781,796 retweets. Besides, this selfie has been commented on and parodied to an enormous extent. safe to say Ms DeGeneres’ stunt smashed Twitter that Sunday.
The big winner may be a brand. The Academy Awards are known among advertisers as the ‘Super Bowl for woman‘, a unique opportunity to reach a huge group of (female) Millennials. Therefore, Samsung spent nearly $20 million on TV commercials and clever product placement during the show. It was no coincidence that Ellen used a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to take the infamous selfie. As a result, branded conversations on social media were mostly about Samsung. They scored a peak rate of 900 online mentions per minute.
Still, Apple could surprisingly profit from it. Some Millennials were quick to point out that Ellen DeGeneres used her own iPhone to take pictures backstage, despite the Samsung sponsorship. Part of the online conversations leaned towards that funny / painful fact. To make it worse: it is common knowledge that Ellen is a fervent Apple enthusiast. She has even got her own iPhone app.
l suggest we give the Gen Y Oscar to Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria. Ms DeGeneres asked the celebrity audience if they were hungry and she ordered from this small North Hollywood pizza chain, handing out pizza slices in prime-time. The delivery guy got a $1,000 dollar tip and the brand’s coolness factor increased times a thousand without spending any money on advertising.
For me, these Oscars were all about how social media can rescue live TV-watching among Gen Y. It just takes second screens and online conversations to boost it. Let’s say: Twitter stole the Oscars but, in the end, a lucky pizza brand won.