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How Samsung Leveraged The Most Retweeted Tweet Of All

Michelle Koh
Michelle Koh
June 20, 2016
2 min read
How Samsung Leveraged The Most Retweeted Tweet Of All

Everyone remembers Ellen Degeneres’ famous Oscar selfie in 2014 - it even bagged the most retweeted entertainment tweet in 2014! (It's still the most retweeted tweet of all time.)

But what’s more ingenious than the selfie was the word-of-mouth marketing campaign behind that selfie, part of Samsung's deftly orchestrated global marketing strategy.

Here’s how Samsung does it:

ellen selfie oscars samsung

1. Created an opportunity to show off the product's quality, while, of course, capturing an amazing moment

Why exactly was Ellen’s selfie such a hit and how did it created millions of WOM impressions over night?

Cashing in on a globally televised show was crucial, having a star-studded cast in the selfie was also unforgettable, but the clinching factor was the quality of the picture (on a front camera even!) and the number of people that could even fit in that selfie! The staying power of the picture came simply from how good that sponsored Samsung phone was.

The killer combination of providing quality product experience and the use of marketing communication channels was incredibly important. Through social media, celebrity spokespersons, leveraging on a huge event like the Oscars, Samsung’s WOM model became a wild success.

In fact, Samsung’s WOM success began even before Ellen’s selfie. 32% of people’s conversations about Samsung's products are recommendations, compared to the average of 20% in 2014.

The best WOM models are generated amongst the consumer themselves and that’s something a great product can do.

2. Smart, tongue-in-cheek ad campaigns to keep Samsung the topic of the town

samsung underwater selfie challenge
samsung jump under the water to get as elfie

In a clever spin on advertising and product placements, Samsung launched an ad campaign in the Spring of 2014 to market the Galaxy S5.

Choosing to feature their underwater camera feature as their factor of distinction, they got people talking with a hugely creative campaign.

In exchange for a free Samsung Galaxy S5 that surfaced from Lake Zurich in Switzerland, ringing, one had only to jump into a lake for an underwater selfie in 8 degrees celsius! This not only gave the daring ones a free phone, it also got people talking about the feature that really works!

Having a bold approach to advertising is highly beneficial for generating WOM impressions, because memorable yet clever TVCs create traffic for the content and pique interest in the product. What makes these ad campaigns even more indispensable to the success of WOM models is to include real people to test and showing the quality of the product, something that draws connections between the consumer and product!

3. Show people what is being said about your product, and aim to please the major influencers of the market

samsung ad

In 2010 when tablets were still a relatively new thing, Samsung launched a game changer to the tech market, the first Android tablet and its first ever Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Introducing a product that is the first of its kind is exciting, but what Samsung did with its WOM model generated more than excitement but a receptive response to a new product and 108% growth in the tablet market!

As part of another fantastic ad campaign, Samsung literally collected word-of-mouth on its Galaxy Tab and broadcasted it as a news show to the Japanese market.

Identifying those with low digital literacy in the Japanese market as their target audience, the WOM campaign leveraged upon the ability to show the audience what other people in other digital mediums were saying about their product.

It brought attention to the new tech product, achieving a reach of over 4.12 million hits. This was also thanks to the large response it created from celebrities and comedians in Japan, one of the biggest influencers in Japan.


To hit it big like Samsung, remember these few things:

  1. Allow your product to showcase its quality in a magic moment
  2. Have crazy ad campaigns that people won't stop talking about
  3. Rely on your customers to be your best advocates
  4. Make sure you make good use of influencers!


Read next: 8 Examples Of How Apple Generates Word-Of-Mouth All Over The World

Michelle Koh
Michelle Koh

Michelle is a self-aware, milo-loving millennial.

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