How the Oscars are marketed

The 88th Oscars were Sunday night, and while the big story seemed to be the controversy over #OscarsSoWhite, a more intriguing backstory for us marketers is the “relentless push” for Academy Award gold.

Oscar Statue

Oscar himself

In short, it’s no happy, unassisted accident when a Leo or a Cate or a producer du jour bolts up those steps to the stage to grasp a statuette and thank the hordes. It’s the result of millions of dollars spent in a tightly timed and exhaustive campaign that leaves no stone unturned, no media outlet unplugged and no influence left unpeddled in its quest for victory. Much like your typical marketing blitz, but with more glamour.

The film festival circuit, resulting in public appearances, profiles by major media, and the talk show circuit are the opening salvos. Then come the carefully crafted by-the-rules “for your consideration” ads in the trade pubs.

How much do they spend on these campaigns? According to conservative estimates, says Adweek, the price tag is $3 million to $10 million to lobby Academy voters on behalf of the Best Picture nominees alone.

In the bag of tricks is a variety of gonzo tactics, including sending screeners to voting members, buying digital and print ads, and throwing lavish, spare-no-expense parties.

The size of the prize makes the investment worth it. Industry stats say that an Oscar nom is worth a bundle. And for the winners, it’s a boost valued at an additional $13.8 million in box office. Often Oscar recognition is a small film’s path to glory (case in point, this year’s Room.)

On behalf of his film The Revenant and himself, Leonardo DiCaprio worked overtime. The Best Actor Oscar winner sweated the season like a champ, wrestling with PR people and interviewers much as his character did in the famous bear sequence.

So…ads, promotion campaigns, video clips, social media…sound familiar? We may not win Oscars, but our toolkit is the same.

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn




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