And the winner is... • Orchid

And the winner is...

And the winner is...

Oscar nominations are out and the ‘noms’ have seven weeks to choose a frock, start the detox and practice their ‘I don’t mind losing’ face.   But long before nomination day, marketing gurus will have turned their attention to the second biggest promotional challenge on the planet after Superbowl.  More than one billion viewers will tune in on 2nd March to see if being a Wall Street wolf beats 12 years as a slave or battling gravity tops being hustled.  My money’s on being a slave, for what it’s worth.

One BILLION viewers.  Gone are the days when Ma, Pa, Billy, Polly and Fido the dog snuggled down on the sofa to watch, uninterrupted, for the duration of the show.  This year, many will have a computer on their lap and a mobile in their hand.  They’ll be watching online, following on Twitter, posting on Facebook and snapping on Instagram whilst putting the kettle on during the more boring award categories (some things will never change).  Many will return to the three-piece and skip the ads altogether.

This throws up a number of winners and losers in the brand stakes, as well as the glossy frock and tux brigade.  One-dimensional promotions are going, replaced by fully integrated campaigns that run before, during and after the event.

There was only one brand winner last year - mustard producer ‘Grey Poupon’ with their resurrected ‘Excuse me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?’ ad.  It may not be familiar to many of you but what the brand did in 2013 was widely accepted to leave all other brands standing.  They released a teaser video online a week before and their Oscar night ad was actually a trailer for a two minute video on their website, meaning viewers had to go online to conclude the story.  Nice move. Interactive online content and a sweepstake helped continue the story.  The result?  An increase of 345% in consumption during the Oscars period and 170% during Oscar month (source: Brand Insights).

Why were they winners?  Because they grabbed the integrated opportunity with both hands and made it work, really well.  Brand Insights suggest they were the only advertiser on the night to see an increase in consumption.

Many brands can’t afford to bat in the big ad league but will take to the Twittersphere to ‘newsjack’ or ‘eventjack’ the Oscars – that is, capitalise on the popularity of the event to magnify their brand message.  Health warning: If you’re going to do this, you’ve got to make it smart and clever, not desperate and crass.

Last year there were nearly 9 million tweets about Oscar night, with mobile phone companies leading the charge.   @sprint mobile have to take home a gong for their ‘Lincoln may not know what a cell phone is but even he can appreciate Truly Unlimited data while on the Sprint network’.   Why? He’s dead! Whereas @USCellular pitched it absolutely right, light-heartedly linking to their brand with ads and tweets that gently poked fun at the excessive seriousness of the night. ‘With U.S. Cellular, you won’t be misérable’, ‘The Sky may fall, but we won’t drop your call’ and ‘Our 4G devices look hot without the spray tans’

But for the best in integrated campaigns, we have to turn to the Superbowl.  The really smart brands make the most of their $4million ad slot by building integrated belters that engage customers before, during and after the game in paid, earned and owned channels.   Marketing Oscars in this space go to Volkswagen for their Darth Vader homage in 2012 which was released on YouTube before the game and triggered millions more online views, shares and comments after the event.

Oreo were instant winners for their famous blackout tweet ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ which generated more than 15,000 re-tweets in the hours after the event. Their quick reaction to the Big Game power cut put them at the centre of the conversation, resulting in millions of pounds worth of coverage and credit.

Understand your media, new and old, use it well and the opportunities for brand gain are immeasurable.

So, who will be the winners on 2nd March?  We’ll be settling down with our popcorn, our tablets and our mobiles to be entertained by the tears, the embarrassing speeches, the frocks and the brilliant brands that grab our attention.  Bring it on….


Sam Watts


This article is taken from Sam's new column in Jersey's Connect Magazine: 'Musings of a Marketer'.