The Award Goes To… How Brands Performed During The 2015 Academy Awards


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The 2015 Academy Awards Audience Drop

Brands could soon be paying a high price for an advertising spot during the Academy Awards. But it seems that the Academy Awards are not the Super Bowl of the Entertainment industry just yet.  Though there is a larger global audience for the Academy Awards from years past, this year’s ceremony saw a drop in its audience numbers, meaning that the ad spot price tag was at its highest yet. But do the Academy Awards have more clout with their ad spots than the Super Bowl?  We took a look at how brands leveraged the Awards show to see who came out the winner.

The Super Bowl Of The Film Industry

The eagerly anticipated Academy Awards ceremony took place last weekend. Arguably, this high caliber ceremony is to the film industry what the Super Bowl is to the sports industry. However, this year saw a slump in in audience numbers, with the 87th Academy Awards now standing as the third least-watched in a decade and fourth biggest bust in 40 years, meaning that the 2015 Oscar’s 30-second ad space price tag has been the most expensive yet, as the network does not do ‘make-goods’ or promise specific ratings.

For brands advertising the premium was less last year, when the Super Bowl generated 26.7 viewers-per-advertising dollar versus 24.8 for the Oscars –- a 7.7% advantage for the Academy Awards. Reason: The average cost of a 30 second commercial for the Super Bowl rose 7.1% year-over-year compared with an 11% increase in the cost for a comparable commercial during the Oscars.

But is the asking price for the Oscars too high? Forbes reports that 31.1% of viewers who watched the 2014 Oscars reported they are more likely to buy a brand featured in an Oscar show ad, compared to 6.87% of viewers of the 2015 Super Bowl. Team that with the fact that the majority of viewers are female (and that females are commonly the financial decision makers in the household) and in homes with an average income of $100,000 and at least four years of college per Forbes and you get really strong sales potential!


The Digital Conversation

Brands didn’t only limit themselves to TV advertising for the Oscars, many optimized their social media strategy according to the events that unfolded, and chose to get creative. Brands who took to Twitter dominated their follower’s feed while other brands took to Facebook and Instagram for real-time marketing moments that mainly focused around creative visual commentary - not just commentary during the awards.

Both Farmers Insurance and M&M’s knew timing was of the essence for their tweet strategy as their brand spokesperson, JK Simmons, was a nominee for Best Supporting Actor. After Simmons’ win, both brands took to Twitter congratulating the actor. Farmers Insurance also had extra exposure with the help of Neil Patrick Harris' reference to the brand shortly after Simmons accepted his award. Harris chanted the insurance company's jingle, which was also hashtaged in Farmer's congratulatory tweet.


M&M's congratulated Simmons for his win with a quickly timed image commenting on the Oscar winner's acceptance speech, (Simmons is the voice of Yellow M&M).


PetSmart also got their timing right with a tweet response to Birdman's Best Original Screenplay win.



During The Show

Lego got creative during the show with their musical piece titled “Everything Is Awesome.” Though the toy brand’s feature film was notably snubbed for lack of movie nomination of an award, the marketing team got creative and generated a huge social media buzz surrounding their performance for their nominated song.


According to Amobee’s Brand Intelligence division the toy brand received 47,290 mentions on Twitter during ABC's telecast of the awards gala, with 45 percent registering as positive—in terms of consumer sentiment - and only 14 percent negative (AdWeek).


The brand didn’t only stop with their performance. Marketers made sure that Lego was in the hands of the A-Listers with some exclusively designed Lego Oscar statuettes, which we think was an absolutely phenomenal and brilliant idea – kudos to Mattel.

Dove was the second best performing brand in digital conversations, with 29,250 social mentions after the airing of their #SpeakBeautiful TV spot, with 91 percent being positive. The best three performing consumer brands after Lego and Dove were Coke, Samsung and McDonalds.

However, despite all the hype surrounding last year’s stunt, Samsung failed to perform as well as their Oscars 2014 Selfie, coming in with only 11,502 social mentions.

There was a huge missed opportunity for brand exposure with underwear brands during Neil Patrick Harris’ ‘Birdman Parody Stunt’. The stunt saw Patrick Harris boldly walk to the stage, and proceed to introduce the next award presenters while scantily clad in brand-less tighty-whiteys.  


The skit opens up a fantastic opportunity for celebrity endorsement for an individual most underwear companies might not have thought of using before the Awards show.

So the 2015 Oscars didn’t come replete with a Samsung selfie moment, a Clarin's lip balm sales boom or a local pizzeria success story. No doubt, brands still managed to ring in sales.  And even now, perhaps kid-friendly households around the world are constructing their own Lego Oscar statuettes.  And perhaps most importantly, if we learned anything from this year’s ceremony, it’s that we should never walk outside without branded undies!   

What Are Your Thoughts?

What was your take on the 2015 Oscar’s ceremony? Let us know in the comments section below.

Are you interested in integrating product placement into your entertainment marketing mix, but simply don’t know where to start? There is so much more to product placement than you may think, and it is important to be educated about the key tactics to best fit your brand. Download our Product Placement 101 Infographic today to start learning more!

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