Awards Shows Offer 4 Marketing Moments For Brands To Seize

Awards shows offer spe­cif­ic moments for authen­tic, smart brands to cre­ate mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions with mil­lions of view­ers.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Like the Super Bowl, adver­tis­ing dur­ing the Oscars is expen­sive, but can expose a brand to a large audi­ence. It also gives mar­keters an oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with an audi­ence far beyond the tele­cast. But, unlike the Super Bowl, view­ers don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly tune in to awards shows for the com­mer­cials. And live awards con­tent can be far more unpre­dictable. So how do mar­keters forge mean­ing­ful con­nec­tions with this live, engaged audi­ence in the moment?

Per Think with Google, 43 mil­lion view­ers tuned in to the Oscars last year. Fur­ther, tens of mil­lions of Oscar-relat­ed Google search­es and tons of relat­ed YouTube con­tent mean there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands to par­tic­i­pate in award events like Sunday’s tele­cast of the 87th Acad­e­my Awards.

In addi­tion, Think with Google notes there are many more Oscar-relat­ed search­es on YouTube and Google the day after an awards show and, fur­ther, videos about award shows are watched for months after­ward.

The Oscars in par­tic­u­lar has a long shelf life, with inter­est pick­ing back up in the fall,” accord­ing to Think with Google.

In oth­er words, mar­keters have a huge win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty to cap­i­tal­ize on award shows and serve up rel­e­vant con­tent to con­tin­ue to con­nect with con­sumers – even long after the event itself. Already, some brands have giv­en us a pre­view of their Oscar plans.

Accord­ing to Matthew Clyde, chief strate­gist and pres­i­dent at inter­ac­tive agency Ideas Col­lide, live event pro­gram­ming like the Oscars or even the recent 40th anniver­sary SNL spe­cial help adver­tis­ers get more audi­ence share and atten­tion because there’s a live, engaged audi­ence that is actu­al­ly pay­ing atten­tion as opposed to more pre­dictable sched­uled pro­gram­ming that is con­sum­able on mobile devices and on demand.

This also means brands that tie in a social com­po­nent can fur­ther lever­age their reach and share, he said.

How­ev­er, chal­lenges clear­ly remain, such as mak­ing the con­tent and relat­ed con­sumer inter­ac­tion authen­tic.

Here’s a look at four spe­cif­ic moments mar­keters have dur­ing awards shows and ways brands can seize them.

1. The Product Placement Moment

Clyde points to the Pharrell/Arby’s moment at the 2014 Gram­mys with the hat and the “very organ­ic moment that became such a big sen­sa­tion.”

This year, how­ev­er, every­one was try­ing to repli­cate that too much,” Clyde said. “It requires authen­tic­i­ty and smart, engaged mar­keters to know what the audi­ence is going to see through. I think that’s the chal­lenge of the mar­ket­ing engine…there’s always now a con­stant con­tent machine to feed and live events require mar­keters to be more on their toes than before.”

He points to hotel brand Hilton, which has been a long­time Gram­mys spon­sor and tweet­ed to Phar­rell about his bell­boy out­fit dur­ing the Gram­mys this year.

I’m curi­ous – was that strate­gi­cal­ly placed or luck that Hilton was a pro­mo­tion­al spon­sor of the Gram­mys and he wore that out­fit?” Clyde said. “It’s like the Sam­sung thing [at the 2014 Oscars], too…product place­ment is more and more some­thing major brands are hav­ing a think about. ‘What can we do to keep that live enter­tain­ment user talk­ing and express­ing more about our brands?’”

2. The Real-Time Moment

In fact, Clyde said brands and mar­keters now have to behave much more like live broad­cast­ers of yore and pro­duce in the moment.

Gone are the days of cre­at­ing cam­paigns over eight weeks and then launch­ing,” Clyde said. “You also have to cre­ate con­tent and visu­als in the moment live as it is hap­pen­ing, like a broad­cast­er would be doing.”

Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet is a great exam­ple, but, again, the chal­lenge is to find a nat­ur­al fit, oth­er­wise it’s just an inter­rup­tion, Clyde said.

3. The Ready-for-Anything Moment

Anoth­er chal­lenge is that the Oscars and oth­er awards shows are “a lit­tle more of a wild card in terms of an event like a Super Bowl” because they “depend on the host or the movies up for nom­i­na­tion and actors pop­u­lar at the time,” said Sarah Neal Simp­son, asso­ciate direc­tor of mobile and social plat­forms at adver­tis­ing agency R/GA.

Anoth­er bar­ri­er awards show adver­tis­ers face: “you nev­er real­ly have con­fir­ma­tion of what some­one is going to wear [at an awards show] until the sec­ond before they step out,” Simp­son said. “It’s hard to be real time…and it’s hard to plan for these things” when try­ing to also cre­ate con­text around celebri­ties and moments.

4. The Making-High-Glamour-Relatable Moment

Anoth­er obsta­cle for mar­keters is tak­ing a high­ly glam­orous awards show moment and mak­ing it rel­e­vant to an exist­ing audi­ence and poten­tial con­sumers watch­ing at home, Simp­son said.

I think what we’re see­ing more and more of…in gen­er­al, brands are try­ing to fig­ure out how to make local invite-only real-time events rel­e­vant to the audi­ence and speak to their brand mes­sag­ing because I think tra­di­tion­al PR is fluc­tu­at­ing with social media,” Simp­son said.

For exam­ple, L’Oreal used an acti­va­tion tied to the Gold­en Globes to bring looks to women at home on Tum­blr and Insta­gram with the help of influ­encers.

Brands are also embrac­ing plat­forms and the ver­nac­u­lar on plat­forms – or more con­sumer-cen­tric lan­guage to be more relat­able as Sam­sung did with its self­ie last year to “get in on that trend and be more cul­tur­al­ly rel­e­vant,” Simp­son said.

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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