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And the Oscar Goes to…Social Media!
By: Aprel Phelps Downey
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It is a night filled with glitz and glamour. Celebrities walk the red carpet dressed to impress, sharing facts about who they were wearing from their earrings straight down to their shoes. Acceptance speeches, musical performances, champagne toasts, and parties until dawn will complete the biggest night in Hollywood!

New to the party this year was social media. Not one to shy away from drama, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences embraced this new audience member giving social media unprecedented access to some of the biggest moments of the night. Facebook provided on-demand video capturing Oscar moments as they happened. Fans at home could watch these real-time videos, sharing them with family and friends on their Facebook walls or sending each one straight to their Twitter page if desired. It gave Oscar fans that may have been unable to watch the show on TV the chance to feel like they were still part of the action.

Celebrities continued the celebration of presentation performances and Oscar wins backstage in the greenroom. The academy provided a ‘magic mirror’ photo booth where celebrities could take candid snapshots of the festivities backstage. These snapshots were instantly uploaded to the academy’s Twitter page, where followers could view, comment, and share on their personal Twitter pages. This social media interaction allowed home viewers to catch their favorite celebrity in a relaxed setting.

Advertisers utilized the presence of social media to promote new marketing campaigns or interact with consumers. Samsung sponsored a real-time red carpet feed for ABC.com that also featured a Facebook chat box, allowing viewers to discuss every celebrity that walked the red carpet. They promoted their new Galaxy Note 10.1 by tweeting sketches of gowns worn by nominated actresses. Each sketch was created utilizing the new phone and uploaded to their Twitter page, where consumers could comment or tweet on their own page.

Grey Poupon reincarnated a beloved 1981 "pardon me" commercial with social media by inviting viewers to their website for an online continuation of the commercial. The online commercial encouraged viewers to become Twitter followers by showing #pardon me hash tag at the conclusion. Pantene promoted its nominated spokesperson Naomi Watts by tweeting behind-the-scenes photos of the actress along with the #wantthathair hashtag.

Not every social media event on Oscar night was a shining moment. The Onion satire online newspaper tweeted a derogatory remark about the youngest Oscar nominee for best actress, Quvenzhané Wallis. The tweet caused quite a stir and was taken down within an hour of being posted and CEO Steve Hannah issued an apology first thing Monday morning. He followed the apology with unsung praise and compliments for Ms. Wallis. It certainly was not the first social media flub and it will not be the last.

Social media arrived at the Oscars dressed to impress and went home with an award all its own!  

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About the Author
Aprel Phelps Downey is a writing/marketing professional who holds more than seven years marketing experience, including all aspects of promotional and informational campaigns and website development.  To learn more about Aprel please visit her website at www.aprelphelpsdowney.com or follow her on twitter: @aphelpsdowney.
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