Advertisers love Oscar

And the winner is...the Academy Awards, if Canadian advertisers are to be believed. Labatt Breweries of Canada, Zellers and Levi Strauss & Co. (Canada) were among the national advertisers who paid up to twice the going rate in order to showcase...

And the winner is…the Academy Awards, if Canadian advertisers are to be believed.

Labatt Breweries of Canada, Zellers and Levi Strauss & Co. (Canada) were among the national advertisers who paid up to twice the going rate in order to showcase their advertising in an environment of unparalleled glitz, glamour, suspense and cleavage.

Given its ability this year to deliver both a broad spectrum of consumers, as well as the highly sought after 18-34 demographic, the Academy Awards telecast will likely be an even hotter advertising property in 2001, says Florence Ng, director of broadcast services at Optimedia Canada.

The 18-34 demographic in Toronto scored more than a 30 share, up about 16% from a year ago, she says.

‘The Academy Awards normally skew to an older female demographic,’ she says. ‘But this year, the younger audience numbers were really phenomenal.’

The combination of hard-to-reach viewers with the sheer volume of eyeballs made the Oscars a perfect advertising vehicle for big budget, mass media advertisers, says Ng.

More than 5.5 million viewers tuned into the four-hour telecast on the CTV Television Network, up 10% from the previous year’s show. That compares to 2.5 million viewers for the Grey Cup and about 3.4 million for the Super Bowl, according to Nielsen Media Research.

In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, the Academy Awards telecast is one of a dwindling number of properties that can deliver such a mass and broad audience, Ng says.

Advertisers agree. Labatt used the awards show to debut three new spots for Labatt Blue Light. Zellers, for its part, unveiled spots touting its ‘Of Course I Want to be a Millionaire’ promotion, while Levi Strauss created a special 60-second version of its latest spot, featuring denim-wearing cats in a post-apocalyptic world.

‘It’s the number one media property in Canada,’ says Steve Silverstone, director of marketing for Blue Light, of the awards. The huge audience and strong gender and demographic mix make the Oscars a must-buy for the brewer, he says.

‘Based on the delivery, I think it would be worth the awareness we would achieve,’ Silverstone says. ‘Even just among males (the Oscars) would outperform the Superbowl – but the more balanced mix is an asset to Blue Light.’

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group