And the Oscar Goes to... Street Fight

And the Oscar Goes to…

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No, this isn’t a big reveal of the Oscar for the best of MULO (multi-location) advertising and media. No ad spending red carpet here. (But watch for our “Dozen” reports each month for key news highlights.)

A recent article in Ad Age noted that ad spending on awards ceremonies is still a “star,” despite the shift of many ad dollars to retail media, digital campaigns, and streaming services.

Disney sold out its ad inventory for the Oscars. Among the advertisers are TikTok, Universal, and Lionsgate.

Although Oscar and Grammy advertising is significantly less expensive than spots on “The Big Game,” brands still believe that shows that revolve around celebrating celebrities (and the media they create) are smart ad buys.

The movie theater industry has had its challenges. Even before the pandemic, the number of screens was shrinking. But the survivors have added features like heated and reclining seats, rentals to corporate groups, and gourmet food and liquor to attract consumers to the big screens. Barbie, Oppenheimer, and concert films have brought viewers back and increased awareness of Hollywood productions.

But now back to the smaller screens…

The cost of an Oscar ad is about $2M. The show brings in about $120M in total ad spending. Smart brands have figured out other ways to capitalize on the event, with in-store activations, swag bag sponsorships, and digital moments.

Although this year may be an especially big year for the Oscars because of the “Barbenheimer effect,” the lessons that MULO brands can take away from awards ceremonies are:

  • Watch what your customers are watching and adjust ad spending accordingly
  • Ad buys are just one way to capitalize on eyeballs
  • Think creatively! Tie your product sales and specials into consumer needs during “viewing moments” (e.g., wings for football and popcorn for movies)

And, above all, hope for big box office and music phenoms every year, so that you’ll have even more opportunities for marketing tie-ins — on ALL screens and in your stores, restaurants, and other MULO locations.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.
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