Whether you were focused on Angie’s leg, JLo’s… um, neckline or genuinely interested in seeing who would bring home the award for best picture during last Sunday night’s Academy Awards show, major brands were there hoping to catch your attention. The three-hour ceremony provided plenty of time for brands to showcase themselves through red carpet product placement as well as in ad spots. Add in sustained engagement of pre-event, during and post-event buzz and an opportunity to do some interesting campaign watching.
Major retail brand jcpenney, led the way. The only retail sponsor of the awards used the show to promote their latest brand refresh centered around the brand message “Fair and Square” in a series of five ads featuring new spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres. The series kicked off with “Changing Room”, showing time-traveling shoppers entering jcp changing rooms and emerging in modern day dress in addition to four other ads depicting a humorous take on hassle free shopping.
As reported by Brand Channel, another campaign debut came from car maker Hyundai in much-lauded spots “Talk to My Car,” and my personal favorite “Modern Life” by Hollywood film director Wes Anderson featuring a loveable ‘Dude’-esque voice over by Jeff Bridges. One brand was made conspicuous by its absence—Kodak, as Billy Crystal jokingly referred to the former Kodak Theater as the “Chapter 11 Theater” in his opening monologue.
Traditional ad spots weren’t the only way brands were engaging with Oscar fans. Marketing and design agency Antler blogged a list of mobile apps, brand partnerships and promotions specifically developed for the awards. Among the notable apps on the list were Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Oscar Edition® mobile app by interactive agency Sanborn Media Factory, Inc. “…allowing users to cast their own votes, compete with their Facebook friends and watch their predictions stack up on the leader boards in real time” and People magazine’s partnership with Red Box and Gilt Group. As reported by Adweek, the magazine rewarded existing subscribers with an Awards Show Special issue and single-copy buyers received a free one-night movie rental from Red Box. On the e-commerce side People.com Style Watch editors curated an Oscar evening inspired fashion gallery for a “Get the Look: Red Carpet” sale on Gilt.com.
Aside from a chance to view some great creativity all this does beg the question—“Is the high price tag of Oscar advertising and promotion worth the mass appeal and long lasting buzz?” Leave a comment and let us know what you think.