They call the Academy Awards the “Super Bowl for Women.” Unlike the Super Bowl, ad space was sold out four months before the event. Just like the Super Bowl, ad rates were up to $1.9 million for a 30-second spot with first-time host, Neil Patrick Harris.
Last year the Academy Awards captured nearly 46 million viewers, an 8% increase YOY, making it the most-watched entertainment telecast in the past ten years, with the biggest viewership in 14, and a seven-year high among the much-coveted 18-34 demo.
Pepsi was the exclusive soft drink advertiser last year, but gave it back to Coca-Cola, which had held that spot for the five prior years. The switch may have been due to the inadvertent promotion Coke got when last year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, “ordered” pizza for the stars sitting in the audience and the boxes had the Coke logo on them. You really had to look for them, but these days a plug’s a plug, and ABC gave Pepsi a number of make-good spots to make amends. Now Coke is back.
Last year must have been the year where promotion trumped ads. Samsung is back following the celebrated three million-tweeted selfie that featured their Galaxy Note 3. As we have said in the past, counting tweets, particularly one of a crowd of celebrities, may not be the most accurate way for brands to calculate ROI, but it certainly did give the phone more on-air face time, what with social media hype the current proxy for actual emotional engagement. We’ll see what Mr. Harris does this year.
J.C. Penney will be sponsoring the Oscars. This will be their 14th consecutive year. Their ads usually feature high fashion for all the obvious reasons but advertising, and advertising believably, are two entirely different things and it hasn’t seemed to have done the brand much good. Who shops for high fashion at JCP? But, one supposes a girl and a brand can dream, can’t they?
In other ad-biz news, GM will be back this year, replacing Hyundai. Anheuser-Busch InBev is expected to run ads for Stella Artois, but given the brand and the venue, you probably shouldn’t expect any puppies. King’s Hawaiian, the #1 branded dinner roll in the United States, is running an ad looking to gain national awareness. They’ve positioned themselves as the “Official Snack of the Awards Season” (having already run ads on the People’s Choice Awards) and, as the “Super Bowl for Women,” the Academy Awards is certainly the spot to catch the attention of moms, although awareness in-and-of-itself – no matter how much you entertain an audience – isn’t usually a good ROI metric and doesn’t necessarily guarantee business, i.e. sales. And bread and buns as “snacks?”
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