Real-time marketing at the Oscars: Winners and losers

While the term “Super Bowl for Women” may be as reductive as it gets, the Oscars still provide one of the biggest event-based brand opportunities for marketers looking to reach one of the almost 45 million viewers that tune in to see Hollywood’s best ham it up on movie’s biggest night.

“The Academy Awards are one of the biggest nights for brands to advertise; companies spend millions of dollars for a 30 second TV spot,” said Bryan Segal, CEO of social media scoring firm Engagement Labs. “That being said, it’s also one of the biggest nights for social media, with viewers live tweeting and commenting on everything they’re watching on the TV,  including the commercials.”

And after last year’s Ellen DeGeneres-selfie coup for Samsung, brands were on the lookout for more moments to glom onto. Below, we run down the best and worst of real-time marketing at the Academy Awards.

Last year, women sent over 5 million negative tweets about beauty and body image, according to Dove. The brand teamed up with Twitter to combat the bad vibes, in a move reminiscent of Coke’s #MakeItHappy Super Bowl outing. You’ve been put on watch, snarky Twitter. The #SpeakBeautiful hashtag had 14,000 mentions on Twitter leading up to the Oscars, according to social media metrics firm Amobee.

The U.S. Department of Labor
Not technically a “brand,” the government’s labor agency won points for getting this tweet up right when it mattered most, after “Boyhood” star Patricia Arquette spent quite a bit of her speech talking about equal pay for women.

“The Lego Movie” — basically a two-hour ad — was not only nominated for an Oscar, but also managed to insert another two-minute ad in the middle of the show, when Tegan and Sara performed the song “Everything is Awesome” from the film. Then — the company handed out Oscar statues made of Legos to key members of the audience. The statues were made by the movie’s director, Phil Lord, who tweeted about them when the movie didn’t get nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. Bravo. 

Farmer’s Insurance
It took a few minutes, but Farmer’s Insurance jumped on spokesperson J.K. Simmons’ win for Best Supporting Actor with this timely, albeit flat, tweet. It got an extra boost when host Neil Patrick Harris sang the jingle on stage.    

DiGiorno Pizza
This brand was already feeling a bit stale for awkwardly inserting crust, cheese and sauce “jokes” at every moment possible. But then, it posted — and deleted — a tweet about ovens when a tribute to a movie about Nazis was on. DiGiorno, we expected better from you, especially after this piece of brilliance at the Grammys.

A rare miss from Denny’s, which clearly felt compelled to weigh in despite having nothing to say 

There was much to mine here. For one, it’s a makeup brand trying to advertise during one of the highest-rated shows for women. And two, it actually had someone on the red carpet wearing its makeup — Nicole Kidman. Instead of cashing in, Nars chose to regram someone else’s work and then misspell “break.”    

Barney’s New York
A lame attempt to insert rain boots into the conversation because it was, er, raining on the red carpet.