Oscars 90: How Brands Can Share the Limelight with Hollywood’s Dazzling Stars
The Academy Awards are one of the most sensational events of the year. While worldwide viewing figures may be reputed to be falling, 2018’s Oscars, in their 90th year, can still be predicted to offer avid audiences all the ingredients of a Blockbuster. Glamour, A-listers, dramatic tension, thrills and following 2017’s #envelopegate mishap, even the potential for an edge-of-the-seat unexpected ending and, naturally, product placement.
NMG Product Placement, recipient of two Brand Cameo Awards for product placements in Oscar nominated films looks at the big business that is ‘Brand Oscar’ and how brands can also be amongst the evening’s winners.
Media Spend: With the ceremony still being a considerable TV draw (despite contentions that viewing figures from The Academy of ‘several hundred million’ people cannot be accurately verified) brands such as Pepsi that can afford to stump up several million dollars in order to partner with the Oscars have been racing to do so. ABC reported in early February that they had already sold out 98% of commercial time during the event.
Other brands who have paid for a thirty second slot during Oscars 90 include Cadillac, Rolex and Google. It is anticipated that many of these brands will be focusing on creative content that shows support of female empowerment as part of the #metoo reaction, with potential in show segment appearances in addition to those in commercial time. As 62% of the 2017 Oscars viewing audience was female and this year’s ceremony comes just before International Woman’s Day it isn’t surprising that advertisers have decided this is the messaging and movement they want to get behind. “In addition to being the most highly viewed event that celebrates storytelling and excellence in film, the Oscars provides advertisers opportunities to engage with viewers in meaningful ways during a cultural moment they care about,” president of advertising Rita Ferro said in a statement.
Centre Stage: For the ninth year running it won’t just be the actors and actresses who are the shining stars on stage. An amazing 45 million Swarovski crystals are being used by scenic designer Derek McLane to decorate the proscenium in a design that will nod to Hollywood’s glamorous history and has been inspired by the film Amadeus. For comparison last year’s proscenium used just over 27,000 crystals. This year’s ceremony is particularly notable being the 90th anniversary so McLane has created dozens of brand-new elements to thrill the audience.
Behind the scenes: Rolex is on board as a sponsor for 2018’s Oscars for the third year running with their clock face featuring on Oscars.go.com counting down to the big event. In 2017 the brand also sponsored the Oscar green room plus a party in London for those unable to attend across the pond. Details with regard to the cost of the sponsorship or how ROI might be calculated are not known but a brand known for its classic style and stellar quality, also hallmarks of the Oscars, makes this a great fit. In 2017 Rolex accessed the Academy’s archive to produce a sixty second montage of their product placements in cinematic classics throughout the years, speaking volumes without saying a word in true Hollywood scene stealing style. Rolex also supports the film-makers of the future through its philanthropic programme, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and by default the potential Oscar winners of the future.
The Red Carpet: What the stars will wear is one of the most eagerly anticipated aspects of the Academy Awards. Designer brands work with stylists to dress and accessorize celebrities, even though brands tend not to know until the event whether their label has been chosen. However with the stars being questioned on the night as to ‘who’ they are wearing the global coverage is priceless. Needless to say the likes of Valentino, Armani and Givenchy will be taking to social media to make sure everybody knows who they have dressed. Who will the Oscars 90 fashion winner be?
Celebrity Gifting: Celebrity gifting lounges are rife at the Oscars and are a cost effective and popular way for brands to benefit from the media attention although generally these lounges are not frequented by the A list talent. At Oscars 90 there will be no official gifting lounge. However, brands will be able to pay to be involved with small specialist events frequented by celebrity talent and the media. The benefits are well-priced opportunities to be associated with established and emerging talent and the forging of real life relationships with potential brand ambassadors. For brands that want to mingle with the stars, and be taken home – on the cheap – celebrity gift bag opportunities are always available, although of little tangible benefit other than press release content. That said never underestimate the power of free gifts. In 2017 Red Vines, Lemonhead, Junior Mints and Mike and Ike arrived from the heavens via small white parachutes into the laps of the star studded audience. While the attendees were gifted some amazing freebies in their ‘Everyone Wins’ swag bags it’s the floating candy that fell from the sky that is most vividly recalled. This surprise exposure gave the companies a lovely piece of free prop supply product placement and plenty of social media content.
The Parties: The Oscar parties provide opportunities for brands to raise their credibility, visibility and influence with a prominent audience. Hosting parties in the run up to Oscars 90 are Cadillac, Saks Fifth Avenue, Piaget and Belvedere Vodka amongst others. Brands choosing to sponsor and associate with on the night parties such as the Elton John viewing party and the Governor’s Ball include Diageo brands Ciroc Vodka and Johnnie Walker as well as the likes of Bulgari and Neuro drinks.
In some respects audience viewing figures for the award show itself are immaterial. The Oscar association itself is worth its weight in gold for brands allowing them to be considered Oscar worthy, the best of the best. As an award show it has a life online that spans weeks not hours, with audiences racing to consume magazine and digital coverage meaning brands continue to be relevant in a cultural movement far beyond the live event itself.