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Oscar ads can learn from Super Bowl

News, 24 February 2016

LOS ANGELES: Brands continue to regard Sunday night's Oscars ceremony as an important tent-pole event with huge reach and prestige and can learn lessons from last month's Super Bowl, a report has suggested.

ABC is expected to gross around $100m in advertising revenues for this year's event, although much of that will be paid to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the broadcast rights, Ad Week noted.

Last year's show attracted 37m viewers, 16% down on 2014, but insiders are predicting a significant increase this year, thanks in part to the controversy that has blown up around the all-white list of nominees, leading to black Americans threatening to boycott the ceremony and which host Chris Rock – who will be the only black actor onstage – is expected to address.

The #OscarsSoWhite protest that has developed has not led to any advertisers dropping out – at an average cost of $2m for a 30-second slot that is not a decision any marketer would take lightly.

Digital think tank L2 has observed that the Oscars has similarities with last month's Super Bowl and suggested that any brand considering advertising at such events should calculate the cost of digital promotion in addition to the price of the television spot, and compare that to the cost of a digital-only campaign.

Its analysis of Super Bowl 50 advertising indicated that brands getting in early were likely to gain more traction – whether that was by releasing their commercial before game-day on YouTube or buying air time during the first half of the game.

It reported, for example, that brands that aired television ads during the first half saw on average 189% higher level of social interactions – YouTube views, Facebook views, shares, likes and comments – than those that did not.

Marketers should not limit themselves to these platforms, it advised, as "newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can offer a lot of value".

The second screen, meanwhile, should be used strategically, as ads there were found to drive up searches for a brand, but not views.

"The second screen may be of tremendous value to a lesser-known brand looking to build awareness but useless to a campaign with the objective of viewership," L2 said.

Data sourced from Ad Week, L2; additional content by Warc staff