Advertising’s star turn at the Oscars


I love the Oscars. Sure, it’s retro, over-produced and self-reverential, but this year’s broadcast was, for me anyway, a lot of fun. And Billy Crystal always makes me laugh (“Harry Potter made $7.7 billion but paid only 14% in income tax.”), even if the humor is straight from the golden age of Vaudeville. And the commercials did not disappoint. Some were derivative (Google+ doing its best to imitate Apple in tone and manner) while others played, with various degrees of success, on the whole awards-night shtick (Hyundai’s Azera, ABC’s own comedy line-up promotion). JCPenney’s historical overview of retailing (coupons, discounts, receipts) was as much the happy result of Ellen DeGeneres’s comedic skills as it was a savvy positioning of the chain’s new sales strategy. I’m still more than over MetLife’s Peanuts obsession and find ATT’s “mean girls” 4G smart-phone campaign really off-putting. My fave: Diet Coke’s lovely tribute to film-making and subtle acknowledgement that “not all stars appear on screen.” Beautifully shot  and accompanied by a haunting variation of a well-known Hollywood theme song, the spot is a celebration of all that we love about creativity and the magic of the movies. Hooray for Hollywood.

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