The 91st Oscars aired yesterday, Sunday, February 24th, 2019, at 8pm on Walt Disney’s ABC. Despite declining viewership and ratings over the years, the television network actually “sells more ads on Oscar Sunday than on any other day of the year,” according to Forbes.
There are two potential reasons for this.
1. The Oscars ceremony attracts a large live audience.
For example, 2018’s “broadcast was seen by more than 26 million people, wrote Jonathan Barr in his Forbes piece.” Quite simply, advertisers want that direct access to consumers’ eyeballs.
2. Engagement for the Oscars is high.
EDO, a TV measurement and analytics firm, reported that “individuals who viewed ads during last year’s Oscars telecast were 77% more likely to engage online with the respective brands compared with viewers who saw a similar ad during the network’s regular prime time.” And, if something captures consumers’ attention like that, marketers are bound to jump on it.
So that got us thinking… Which product categories and companies chose to advertise during the Oscars over the past 3 years? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Top Product Categories Advertising During the 2016 – 2018 Oscars Ceremonies
The below pie chart shows the 14 separate product categories that advertised for the last three Oscars ceremonies. The top three product categories in order include the technology industry, which earned 26% of the whole pie, the automotive industry, which received 16%, and, finally, media and entertainment and retail (both 9%), which tied for next place.
5 Companies Advertising During the Oscars From 2016 to 2018
While these companies advertised all three years, many others only committed to advertising in the last two Academy Awards Presentations.
12 Companies Advertising for the Oscars Between 2017 and 2018
If you start looking at companies who advertised during both the 2017 and 2018 Oscars ceremonies, the list grows from five brands to twelve. They are:
The average number of commercials for each of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Oscars was 37. Running commercials during the Oscars is important to these brands. A lot of companies, such as Samsung, Google, and Walmart, use their ad buy to touch on timely social and political issues or unveil new creative.
Some of our Favorite Ads that Aired During the Academy Awards from 2016 – 2018
In this ad from the 89th Oscars, Samsung speaks to the younger film generation. In an effort to connect, the company uses the slogan, “Do what you can’t.”
The company is addressing relevant social concerns: who the younger film generation is and what it does, what its goals are, and how it differs from previous age groups. The brand uses American YouTube personality, Casey Neistat, as its spokesperson because he is also one of these young innovators.
Unlike earlier generations, the newer one doesn’t “have big award shows or huge budgets or fancy cameras. But, what we do have is our phones and duct tape and parking lots and guts,” states Neistat.
The young simply love to create and share their ideas. They also have “one thing in common. When we’re told that we can’t, we all have the same answer: Watch me.”
This commercial aired during the 2018 Oscars, the same year that the Me Too Movement, a powerful social revolution, came to new prominence.
While reintroducing its technology, Nest, Google also touched on this topic in the ad and in its end motto, “it starts at home.”
Before a young boy leaves for the high school prom, his dad lectures him via Google Nest. “Steven, can I have a minute?,” the father starts. “Tonight’s a big night. I want you to understand how special Sarah is, so treat her with respect. And don’t assume being her date means anything more than that.”
Some commercials that air during the Oscars are like mini movies themselves. Walmart‘s ad for the 2018 Oscars is one of them. Not only does it promote imagination, but it also showcases its newest creative.
In this ad, written and directed by Dee Rees, a girl flying a spaceship is shot down by enemy fire, only to land on a desert-like planet to combat another terrifying monster with a long tongue.
Thankfully, she makes it into a cave, unharmed. Viewers soon find out, however, that the safe place is really just a Walmart box. The girl’s enemies were her sister and mother, who was ordering her to go to bed.
With its large live audience and high engagement rate, the Academy Awards is a great place for brands to advertise key products and creative, as well as, attract and build a list of loyal customers. Companies can engage with and cultivate long-lasting relationships with consumers by touching on relevant social and political issues that they care about.