Also known as the Oscars.
Did you just get all dressed up with nowhere but a TV party to go to? It must have been Oscars weekend and the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, when women across America all gathered to applaud the performances, directing, cinematography, and, of course, fashion of the past year in the entertainment world.
The best part of it all? Unlike during football telecasts, when men engage in their continuous 4-hour orbits between the toilet and the fridge during the commercials, women actually staple themselves to the sofas the entire time. (And unlike during the Super Bowl, they stay quiet the whole time…)
Oscars spots cost less than half as much as the Super Bowl, asking for about $1.7 million for 30 seconds of air time. From an advertising perspective, that means clients get more bang for their buck — with the added benefit of a more specific audience.
The glitzy annual ceremony rolls out the red carpet for brands that cater to a female demographic. According to Adweek, 70 percent of the Oscars’ audience is female, and is more likely to stick around for the commercials. ABC sold out its ad time weeks earlier than usual this year, signifying that King Capitalism is making its return after an economic exile we’ve endured for the past few years. Also, since the Oscar audience is typically upscale with disposable income, advertisers are dying to highlight themselves when the consumers are the most vulnerable: viewing an entire show that celebrates, intentionally and unintentionally, materialism and social status.
You know what this means: the advertiser’s ongoing guessing game on product messaging is a little more predictable.
JCPenney continued its Oscars tradition with its 11th-straight year advertising during the event by introducing the unforgettable tagline, “Dear America, You Deserve to Look Better” and airing a series of heart-warming spots. One example: a father holding his baby with the caption, “Dear Supermen.” Each ad featured a vignette of family life, friends and veterans during memorable moments paired with an inspiring musical score. And new pitchwoman Ellen DeGeneres introduced the company’s spring line and new pricing structure. Hollywood’s biggest night of fashion became the best time to promote JCP’s clothing to style-hungry viewers.
Not all commercials leaned toward fashion. Hyundai, Tide, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are other brand giants that bought their access the red carpet. Focusing on a more touchy-feely tone and feminine-geared messaging, these brands tried their best to stand out during their slots. And luckily, instead of experiencing a bombardment of advertising, viewers enjoyed a less-cluttered environment, seeing only 8 to 10 minutes of commercials every hour.
Regardless of what you think of the TV spots, the thing about the Oscars is its inherent water cooler value. A football game has a final score; it’s done when it’s done. A judgment, however, promotes a lot more discussion, and there’s more to be judged than simply who got which statuette. The Oscars is more of a celebration of achievement — as a shared event, it’s going to be more positive in tone, anyway. Even the worst-dressed attendee is still going to look pretty hot.