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Recap: Advertisers Fight for the Spotlight at The Grammy Awards and Oscars

Actors and actresses aren’t the only ones fighting for the spotlight at The Grammys and Oscars; advertisers are, too. (No slaps are involved.) 

Case and point: The ABC earned more than $125mm from last year’s Oscars despite the record low viewership.

Not convinced? 

The number of companies and brands advertising during last year’s Grammys increased by 26% and 36% YoY. 

Clearly, The Grammys and Oscars offer an opportunity for brands. 

Is it for all of them? 


But if the stars—and target audiences—align, brands open their wallets. 

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Advertising at the Oscars

Like most digital advertising—whether on Facebook, OTT or during events like the Super Bowl—the lion’s share of the ads come from companies in a few categories. 

This was true in 2021, as a handful of categories accounted for 80% of the spending. 

  • Media & Entertainment

Media & Entertainment advertisers went from making up 11% of spending in 2019 to 27% in 2021. 

In 2021, 51% of the dollars came from Films and TV shows, while 32% went to subscription streaming services like Apple TV, Discovery+ and Disney+.

  • Automotive

Despite spending 4% less YoY in 2021, Automotive advertisers still accounted for a good chunk of spending.

When looking at Automotive subcategories, only ads for SUVs have been present every year since 2019. 

In 2021, this subcategory accounted for 64% of the category’s spending.

  • Technology

While Technology advertisers decreased their spending by 53% in 2020, many came back last year. 

In 2021, ad buys increased by 19% YoY (the number of companies advertising went down by 33%.)

Companies that increased spending included Charter (up by 54% YoY), Google (up by 131% YoY) and Verizon (up by 5% YoY).

Looking at how these top categories have shifted over time, we see that Media & Entertainment, Automotive and Technology advertisers are the only ones that have secured a spot every year since 2019. 

In 2019, Travel and Retail made the cut, while 2020’s list included Finance and Food. 

More than half of the companies advertising at the 2019 Oscars, including IBM, Nike, and Uber, didn’t do so the following two years, but this is likely because of the declining viewership. 

That said, 41% of the companies that advertised in 2019 came back in 2020, including Intuit, Microsoft and McDonald’s. 

Of the companies that advertised last year, only 6 (or 16%) have done so every year since 2019. 

These companies include Charter, Google, Verizon, General Motors, Toyota and The Walt Disney Company. 

Last year’s award show saw 71% of the companies that took the past two years off start spending again. 

Sponsors of the 2022 Oscars invested in TV spots, spending more than $20mm with Fox, ABC and NBC. 

In Q4 2021, the company spent nearly 99x what it did in Q3. 

So far in 2022, ad buys are up more than 1,000% YoY.


Pfizer decreased its buys in 2021 by 31% YoY as it spent less on TV and print. 

At the same time, it increased digital buys by 32%.  

Video and Facebook, in particular, received a lot of attention, increasing by 177% and 121%, respectively. 

Pfizer’s spending is down 22% in 2022 compared to January and February of last year, despite a 62% increase in digital advertising and a 1,000% increase in online video spend. 

Verizon Wireless 

Verizon Wireless is no stranger to award season; the company has bought ads every year since 2019. 

Its spending in January 2022 was 50% higher than the same month in 2021. 

Of that spend, 48% went to TV, with video trailing at 41% of total spending in January.


After sitting out the past two years, Rolex increased spending by 14% in 2021. 

In 2022, Rolex has thus far stuck primarily with print ads, which accounted for about 80% of its ads; just 2% of Rolex’s spend went to digital display.

Studios Get in on the Fun With “For Your Consideration” Campaigns

It’s not just the likes of McDonald’s and The Walt Disney Company opening their wallets; the movie studios do as well. 


To influence voters. 

These are called “For Your Consideration (FYC)” campaigns.

In 2022, studios spent more than $53mm on these campaigns, representing a 7% increase YoY. 

In 2019, studios spent more money than ever campaigning for votes because there wasn’t a consensus winner for Best Picture. 

The splurging didn’t continue into 2020 as spending decreased by 5% YoY. Spending fell once again in 2021—this time by 12%. 

That said, FYC campaigns appear to be on the rebound and are up by 7% or $53mm as AT&T, Amazon, MGM, Netflix and The Walt Disney Company spend big this year.  

Despite living in a full-on digital world, FYC campaigns include a heavy dose of traditional media, like print. 

In fact, print ad buys—think periodicals like The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and Variety—have accounted for between 62% to 86% of the total FYC spending between 2019 and 2021.  

Looking specifically at the advertisers investing in FYC campaigns, we see that Amazon and AT&T have the same mix of buys.

Meanwhile, MGM spends 81% of its budget on magazines, with Variety and The Hollywood Reporter getting 77% of these dollars. 

Walt Disney has a similar mix as MGM, with the majority going to magazines such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard and American Cinematographer.

On the flip side, Netflix invests more than half of its ad dollars—53%—in newspapers such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Advertising at The Grammys

In 2021, the number of companies and brands advertising during The Grammys increased by 26% and 36%, respectively. 

Of these companies, 19%, including Comcast, Ford, Mastercard, McDonald’s and Progressive, have done so every year since 2018. 

For brands, only two have bought ads every year since 2018–McDonald’s. 

On the flip side, 28 companies (48%) and 82% of brands hadn’t advertised in the previous four years.

Some names include Bristol Myers Squibb (lung cancer medication), Ford (Lincoln Nautilus,) Apple (AirPods Pro) and Johnnie Walker.

This year, people watching the broadcast saw 118 ads—more than half of them came from five categories, including Media & Entertainment (HBO Max, Peacock+, Wicked, etc.), Pharmaceutical ( Zyrtec, Kisqali, OPDIVO + YERVOY, etc.), Retail (Ashley Furniture, Best Buy, Gap, etc.), Finance and Tech. 

The viewers keeping track at home may have noticed a drop in the number of ads from Automotive and Beauty brands, which fell out of the Top 5. 

2022 Marketing Partners at The Grammys


Binance’s investment in traditional advertising increased by 775% YoY in 2021 as it spent 73% of those dollars on newspapers and 27% on Facebook. 

In 2022 (January and February), Binance pushed more chips into digital, spending 65% on Facebook ads, 22% on digital display and 13% on video.


Ad spend was up 74% YoY in 2021 with a mix of TV (57%), magazines (23%) and digital. 

Interestingly, Bulova hasn’t bought any TV spots this year, despite spending on other traditional mediums, like magazines, which accounted for 16% of spending in January and February. 

Bulova’s remaining dollars went to digital tactics (84%) such as native ads (54%), display ads (18%,) and Facebook (9%).


Despite a decrease in spending by 28% last year, SiriusXM is turning the page, spending 400% more so far in 2022 than it did during the same time last year. 

More than half of this spending has gone to TV (56%), 30% to Facebook and 5% split between other digital tactics and magazines.

The Perfect Time for Advertisers to Rub Elbows with the Stars

When most people think of The Grammys and Oscars, they think of the red carpet, fancy clothes and expensive parties. 

What doesn’t come to mind for most is the strategies put forth by advertisers, brands and studios to catch the attention of consumers and voters alike. 

While there’s no denying award-show spending has been on the fritz the past couple of years, all signs point to it returning—or surpassing—pre-pandemic levels as the world and the entertainment industry try to get back to the glam.

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