Advertisers during the 91st Academy Awards vied for audience attention by sending messages of empowerment, craft and a love of film.
Walmart served as the main sponsor for the Academy Awards and turned its marketing efforts not on the celebrities themselves, but those working behind the scenes. For its TV spot, the retail giant partnered with movie stylists who designed custom outfits for six film crew members working in Foley, voice acting, stunts, costumes, styling and catering.
In addition to prominent branding and the hashtag #WalmartFashion used throughout the program, Walmart created a dedicated microsite to the film crew partners and their curated fashion.
Stunt Coordinator George Cottle is pulling off this look from #WalmartFashion, put together by red carpet stylist Michael Fisher. #Oscars https://t.co/w6hYjJWaQ1 pic.twitter.com/2flCqCtY3I
— Walmart (@Walmart) February 25, 2019
The #MeToo movement is still in full swing, so brands no doubt consider the Oscars to be the perfect platform for female empowerment.
Nike continued its “Dream Crazy” campaign with a female-focused ad narrated by Serena Williams. The commercial highlights moments in sports history when women were considered “crazy” for attempting something new.
“So if they want to call you crazy,” says Williams in the spot, “Fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
Show them what crazy dreams can do. #justdoit pic.twitter.com/3fo2XMVkBT
— Nike (@Nike) February 24, 2019
Cadillac likened stepping up into one of its new SUVs to rising to the occasion, using visuals like a woman of color receiving an award, a female boxer rising from the corner and a man stepping onto the stage to a microphone.
Budweiser enlisted the help of actress Charlize Theron to promote its new reserve lager in a spot that plays on the saying, “Hold my beer.” After ordering a glass of Budweiser reserve lager, Theron notices some men playing pool and it inspires her to challenge them. She goes from activity to activity—pool, darts and arm wrestling—emerging victorious without putting down her beer glass. Oddly enough, as some viewers have pointed out, she never takes a sip, either.
The Academy Awards were designed to honor those who are masters of their craft. This theme resonated in several ad spots, as well.
Rolex turned its attention to Academy Award-winning filmmakers James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro G. Iñárritu who each give their advice about telling one’s story.
Samsung, fresh off its Galaxy S10 smartphone reveal, teased a new phone during the ceremony that would take “cinematic” pictures.
Budweiser touted its own craftsmanship by shaming other brewers for using corn syrup. Set In its “Dilly Dilly” universe, two thespians take the stage to dramatically read beer ingredients from Miller Light and Bud Light. After hearing that Bud Light does not use corn syrup, one audience member is moved to tears.
The jab at its competitors began at the Super Bowl with Bud Light’s “Special Delivery” spot.
Google took an imaginative approach to its voice assistant marketing by adding its functionality to popular films. As the commercial plays, the events of Deadpool, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Scream, Toby McGuire, Hangover and Lady Bird are all changed when Google Assistant is used.
Hollywood’s biggest night has attracted fewer viewers in recent years, and the 2018 Oscars reached a new low. Despite this, brands pour millions of ad dollars into the televised event for a chance to be associated with celebrity glitz and glamor. According to Kantar Media, the average price of an Oscars-airing ad was $2.11 million in 2018.