Sunday’s 84th annual Academy Awards were not only a golden night for actors, directors, and producers, but also a major event for advertisers. ABC’s broadcast of Hollywood’s biggest night provided a captive audience estimated by Adweek to be made up of nearly 70% women, including a large majority between the ages of 18 and 49, one of the most crucial demographics for advertisers. Despite airtime during the show costing less than half as much as Super Bowl spots, the cost to advertisers per viewer was still higher than the big game, the year’s marquee advertising event. However, the opportunity to reach an extremely targeted audience of more than 37 million people at a reasonably low cost is highly attractive to larger ad spenders such as McDonalds, Samsung, and Coca-Cola.
JCPenney was the evening’s largest spender, marking its 11th consecutive year of advertising the Oscars by introducing its innovative new pricing structure. It aired 5 spots in total, with one main ad featuring Ellen DeGeneres followed by four separate pitches for its new spring line of clothing. The ads, however, lacked the punch of a Super Bowl-type spot. Hyundai, whose Super Bowl campaign was considered among the best, also fell somewhat flat, showing a strange albeit humorous ad that came up short of the bar set by their lauded efforts earlier this month.
Between advertisers coming up short of the mark and the less-than-impressive integration of real time discussion amongst the audience through social media, the 2012 Oscars felt like a missed opportunity. In step with the theme widely speculated upon by the media that the show would suffer from a weak field of films, having no real blockbusters up for awards, there seemed to be no advertising or marketing effort striving to take home the trophies either. Although the Oscars are still without doubt one of the most important dates on anyone’s calendar, 2012’s edition was a missed opportunity.