Oscars 2014: Breaking the 4th Wall

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A certain selfie taken this past Sunday achieved its mission in breaking the world record of retweets.  You know what I’m talking about…the Oscars!  When Ellen DeGeneres, in all of her spontaneity, gathered 11 other celebrities in the middle of the Oscars for a selfie, she darn near broke the Internet and actually broke Twitter.  But, my question is “why”?  What was so different about this awards show than any of the others?  The Grammy’s had plenty of selfies, and no big story stemmed from that.

From a marketing standpoint, I have to say that the answer is engagement.  Engagement makes the world go ‘round and building relationships is a key component of living life.  Normally in these types of shows, you the viewer aren’t really included.  The only “relationship” you have with any of the celebrities is that you enjoyed a piece of work they may have participated in.  Sure, the host looks at the camera and reads off a teleprompter from time to time, but you know it’s forced and not “real”.  Ellen changed that.  She often went off script and expertly injected her personality into hosting; she shattered the display glass around the celebrities and made witty comments that showed their humanity, and she answered tweets on air genuinely. It felt like a “real” experience.  It was almost as if everyone was sitting around your living room just chilling out and watching TV with you.

Now that I’ve mentioned your living room, let’s talk about the pizza!  How many times have you had friends over, decided to get something to eat, and ordered a couple pies from your local pizzeria?  Countless, I bet.  Through this simple action, Ellen broke through the concept of perfection presented by the Oscars and similar award shows and injected realness and relate-ability.  She broke through the expectation of what was proper and expected and forged a relationship with viewers by simply doing daily activities of laypeople like ordering pizza, tweeting, or taking a selfie.  It’s that simple!  Instead of talking “at” viewers Ellen talked “to” viewers… literally and through actions.  Just by doing that, she pretty much changed the virtual game.