It was the best of times (for the winners). It was the worst of times (“here’s to the losers.”). It was an evening of wretched excess and an excessively wretched host. A salute to art and a celebration of commerce. It was, in short, the 85th Academy Awards and it made for a long night.
Even the commercials were a disappointment (although sadly not enough of them to block out Seth McFarlane). A few stand-outs (in a good way):
– Chobani Greek Yogurt “goes real” in a night of make-believe.
– Ronald McDonald House. An accident-prone little boy pays his “lucky penny” forward.
– Hyundai “thanks” the Academy in the voice of Oscar-award-winner Jeff Bridges.
– iPad apps are Hollywood-themed and just as magical.
Commercials aside, much of the appeal of award shows—at least for the audience—is poking fun. At the stars, the opulence, the self-reverence. But for the underwriters (the advertisers), there’s a lot more at stake. This year’s Oscars telecast showed in dramatic fashion a brand in trouble—unsure of its identity, its audience and its message. For marketers paying nearly $2 million for a :30, that’s bad news and an even worse trend for the future. The Oscars should take a page from the Chobani playbook and play to what’s real, simple, honest and true.
Now that’s entertainment.