Advertisers Tailor Spots to Affluent Women

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NEW YORK ( --The audience watching the Academy Award telecast March 5 will likely be female, married and white -- a demographic that advertisers seem eager to reach as the telecast has sold out despite the show’s declining ratings over the past few years.
Photo: AP

According to an MRI survey, the demographic makeup of the Academy Awards audience has remained remarkably stable since 1998. In both the current report and a report published in 2000, 60% of Oscar viewers are female and approximately 60% of viewers are married. In that period, the percentage of viewers identifying themselves as white declined from 88% to 82%.

Price for ad up 6%
The Academy Awards are typically the second most expensive network TV buy after the Super Bowl, and this year the average 30-second spot went for $1.7 million up, up 6% from last year.

Advertisers including American Express, AT&T,, Coca-Cola Co., Dyson, General Motors Corp., Kodak, MasterCard, Masterfoods, J.C. Penney Co., McDonald's, Miller, L'Oreal, and Procter & Gamble Co. have all bought time on the broadcast, which is hosted this year by comedian Jon Stewart.

Gold for Kodak
Some companies, like Kodak, are airing commercials that seem specifically geared to female viewers. Kodak’s tear-jerking ad highlights the company’s mammogram software. The 30-second spot shows a museum of photos of breast cancer survivors accompanied by a theatric orchestral score. David Lanzillo, VP-communications and public affairs at Eastman Kodak, said Kodak’s long-standing relationship with the Academy awards (the ceremony takes place in the Kodak Theatre) is in part a strategy based on the demographics of the event’s viewership.

Other companies have chosen to advertise on the awards show simply because it reaches a large audience -- just more than 42 million people watched the Oscars last year -- and are less interested in the demographic makeup of that audience. will be airing the same ad featuring workplace chimps that ran during the Super Bowl and on the Winter Olympics. is interested in the Academy Awards as a prime-time event that people are watching in real time, said Jennifer Sullivan, a Careerbuilder spokeswoman.

“Our target audience is anybody looking for a job, or a better opportunity,” Ms. Sullivan said. “Our demographic is very wide, so we’re just looking for venues that reach a lot of eyeballs.”

Keeping an appointment
AT&T also chose to advertise on the awards broadcast because it is “appointment TV.” The marketer did not design new creative specifically for the broadcast but will use an ad that broke in January as part of the company’s new “Your world. Delivered” brand campaign. But they have developed two entertainment-focused online ads to appear only on

Interestingly, the MRI survey reveals that nearly 41% of people watching the Academy Awards go to the movies less than once a month. But that’s OK, given ads for movies are not allowed during the telecast.

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