The Oscar for Media Buying

It's the second-highest annual advertising spend, so resident copywriter and film nerd, Luke Wilson Hanley, asks - who really won at the Oscars?

Picture of Luke Hanley

Luke Hanley

Sleep well last night? Me neither. Like millions of people around the world, I sacrificed sleep for ceremony and tuned in for the 2018 Academy Awards.

And like most of those viewers, I have my own long-winded opinions about the results, the nominees... the whole system, in fact. But you'll be pleased to know up front, this isn't one of those articles.

First of all, let's talk money.

An Oscars campaign costs a studio anywhere in the $3 million to $10 million range. The purpose is easy - remarketing. A cinema re-release, a nice strapping headline on the DVD cover, and of course the follow-on effect for the next movie in which they cast not just Actor McHollywood, but Academy Award Winner Actor McHollywood.

On the other side of the money coin, the Academy Awards broadcast is officially the second-highest costing advertising break of the year, following the Super Bowl. With a 30-second TV spot reportedly costing $2.6 million, it's a big spend for any marketeer. But with all the sleep-deprived film buffs waking up and buying their products, surely the results are worth it. But here's my first big question:

Where are all the movie trailers?

One of the biggest buzzes of the Super Bowl is the wave of new film trailers - usually the box-office behemoths of the coming summer. So, we have a sports event showcasing the flicks, but not its filmic equivalent? While some films grabbed the showcasing opportuntity, such as Disney's nostalgia-risk Mary Poppins Returns, nothing compares to the avalanche of teasers and trailers that follows the Super Bowl.

I adventured across the office and grabbed a chat full of insights from our Media gurus, and the hypotheses were a'plenty. Is it because the audience is already full of movie-goers or because the studios have allocated their Oscars budget to awards, awards, and nothing but awards? Is it due to the Oscars not wanting to show favouritism to any one studio? Might it even be the opposite? You've got Actor McHollywood geared up for a sure-fired win with their career-defining biopic, but will the boss ever forgive you after the trailer for Transformers 29 obliterates their chances like a stampede of Decepticons?

And the winner is...

Advertisers did not shy away from the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, with a recurring theme of female empowerment across a number of the biggest spots. Some handled this beautifully, respectfully. Others, not so much.

There have been a host of articles doing the rounds this morning about Walmart's Oscars success. If you haven't seen their triptych of ads yet, scroll down, watch them, thank me later. These ads won on so many levels. From the casting of the parents as a black lesbian couple to the fans' response to Dee Rees' short, let the accolades pour in for this one on brand awareness. On the product-specific side, Melissa McCarthy and Nancy Meyers' respective adverts are worth their weight in gold.

Similarly, Nest saw a good response for their advert titled 'Prom Night'. Marketing a doorbell in an emotive and topically relevant way ain't easy, and this was pulled off with charm.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, we find Twitter, who responded to the sexual assault awareness hashtags in the most direct way, and accordingly saw their share of blacklash. As one of, if not the, main platform of the social media-driven campaigns, audiences asked Twitter why they invested in an advert on empowerment instead of developing a stricter policy and policing of harmful activity on their site.

That's all, folks!

As far as online, video, and outdoor advertising strategies go, the Oscars was a big winner this year for a number of brands and box office budgets. And from my brief chat with our Media Deptartment, my eyes were opened to how incredibly tuned in they are to getting your message played to the right audience in the right place at the right time. So get in touch and let's create a winner.

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