If I’m being completely candid, every year when the Oscars comes around, I find myself more interested in the red carpet than the actual awards. Although I believe Emma Stone needs to be recognized for her breathtaking gold dress, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should retire his blue velvet jacket, I’m here to talk about the biggest moments of the night. Viola Davis’ words made your whole family cry, Jennifer Aniston reminded us that we will never look that good at 48, and of course there was that epically awkward moment during the biggest award of the night. Congrats, “Moonlight.” Ouch, “La La Land.”
However, while the stars shined, there were some big names that did not receive any accolades. I’m talking about the sponsors of the Oscars. Fortunately for them and in the spirit of the award show season, I’ve decided to make some awards of my own.
Starting off, the Oscar for Most Exposure during the ceremony goes to…
Samsung. As a leader in technology and innovation, Samsung has always had a pretty big role during the Oscars. In the past, they’ve spent $20 million on ads and always have their products on display. Remember the most iconic selfie of all time back in 2014? A Samsung phone took that. And this year, when the announcer told viewers to follow The Academy on Instagram, the model was using a Samsung Tablet. Samsung strategically places its products throughout the Oscars telecast perhaps creating the ultimate celebrity endorsement in a very subtle way. Star-stuck viewers take note that, on the biggest night in Hollywood, Samsung is the technology of the day. Their most memorable commercial of the night, “The Rest of Us,” was a salute to our modern day creative artists who exist far beyond the scope of the Oscars but have the same passion and determination to create.
Moving on, the Oscar for Most Powerful Message of the night goes to…
Cadillac. A trend we see today is companies addressing political or social concerns through their paid advertising opportunities. Cadillac did not hold back and sent a strong message about uniting as a country, all while relating back to the “Dare Greatly” campaign they have been running for the past two years. Cadillac’s “Carry” commercial was interesting because, although the company conveniently snuck in some famous people next to their “caddy,” they focused much more on the message of people carrying each other. Pretty bold move not to focus directly on your products when spending nearly $2.1 million for one ad space. However, this allows Cadillac to make bold statements on an important message in a classy and sophisticated way, in keeping with the Cadillac brand image.
Up next, the Oscar for Best Rookie Sponsor goes to….
Rolex. In 2016, the famous watch company sponsored the Rolex Greenroom, an area where winners and presenters could relax before or after their time on stage, but this was the first year they became an official sponsor of the biggest night in Hollywood. Not only did they shine as a newcomer, but they reminded everyone why they are a leader in their industry. The Rolex commercial “Celebrating Cinema” was a compilation of iconic scenes with famous faces from past blockbuster films with each scene and actor, of course, sporting a Rolex. The position of the product is barely noticeable in the context of the movie itself; however, in the commercial, it becomes obvious the brand is as rich in history and nostalgia as Hollywood itself. Scrolling through the iconic films from the past is the perfect connection to Rolex’s tagline, “It doesn’t just tell time, it tells history.”
Our last award is for Most Innovative Ad of the night. The Oscar goes to…
Walmart. If you watch TV at all, you’ve seen some teasers for “The Receipt” campaign Walmart was going to run during the Oscars. The campaign includes a generic receipt from a consumer that includes miscellaneous items. The idea was to have four different directors (Antione Fuqua, Marc Foster and the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) create unique films based around these items. Walmart’s main objective was to bridge the gap between the everyday life of the consumer and the glamour of Hollywood for its big sponsorship debut. While the idea was brilliant and the teasers leading up to the Oscars were intriguing, the execution may have failed. Many critics are saying there was a poor brand association and that this idea was a flop. The only way the consumer had any idea that this was a Walmart-related ad was the receipt they showed at the beginning of each short film. However, the idea to create movies for an event all about the movies was clever when combined with the brand’s objectives.
Millions of people watch the Oscars, and every year sponsors find new, innovative ways of sharing their brands with audiences around the world. Shows like the Oscars and the Super Bowl challenge advertising professionals to find new ways to share their clients’ stories, and it’s exciting to think about the future of advertising in these major televised events. In the meantime, whether your favorite actor won or your favorite movie of the year wasn’t recognized, just be thankful that you weren’t Matt Damon all night.