See the Spots

Oscar Advertising: Dissecting the $1.6 Million Commercials

How Marketers Used TV's Second-Most-Expensive Ad Vehicle

By Published on .

The Oscars are the second most-expensive TV advertising opportunity with the price of a 30-second spot going for between $1.6 million to $1.8 million. Here, we take a look at what some major marketers did with their time during the broadcast.

We detailed on Friday how a couple major marketers, JC Penney and Samsung, are placing big bets on the Oscars. JC Penney used the show to kick off an ambitious ad campaign called "Yours Truly" with an anthem, "Dear Dreamers."

Interestingly, it was done by an agency called The Bureau, which used to work with Apple and is now exclusively working for JC Penney. (The retailer also works with Peterson Milla Hooks, Brand Advisors and Mother ).

Samsung aired a series of ads that built on one another, including one that starred Tim Burton.

Hyundai aired a raft of ads -- seven spots in total -- including a few ads repurposed from the Super Bowl. Hyundai has been the exclusive auto sponsor of the Oscars for five years.* Luckily, spokesman Jeff Bridges was not nominated for an award this year like he was in 2010 for "Crazy Heart," which forced the automaker to scramble for new voice-over artists to comply with the show's commercial rules.

McDonald's aired "Lucky Penny," a charming spot starring a little boy whose very bad day turns very good when his mom gets a flat tire, right outside a McDonalds. The fast feeder has appeared in every Oscars since 1992, according to Kantar Media.

Diet Coke's first Oscars ad, "Credits," was part of its continuing "Stay Extraordinary" campaign. The ad featured a storyline meant to be a tribute to the "extraordinary" people who keep us entertained, both on and off screen. The spot was set to the tune of Robert Miller's "Hooray for Hollywood" and was handled by Wieden & Kennedy.

A second Oscar spot from the brand was imported from the U.K. "Gardener" is a nod to the memorable hunk spot, which aired in the mid-1990s. The spot originally aired in the U.K. and features model Andrew Cooper. It was created by BETC London.

Grey Poupon also harkened back, revisiting the classic ads it once aired.

Apple debuted new iPad spots, including one highlighting the device's filming, video-editing and movie watching capabilities.

Chanel reprised the Brad Pitt oddity that made waves earlier this summer. It was notable not only because it was strange, but it also inspired a raft of parodies, which fueled it to viral success.

Royal Caribbean aired several ads during and around the broadcast to promote Kristen Chenoweth as the "godmother" of its Quantum of the Seas cruise ship. The beginning of the ad could unnerve anyone with rival Carnival Cruise's recent "cruise from hell" crisis. The voice-over begins: "What started as another day in paradise…" leading viewers to wonder where the heck it was going.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, aired one of its ads (one that originally aired during an "American Idol" broadcast) that addresses obesity to to the big show, a strategy that has elicited mixed opinion.

Chobani was a first-time Oscar advertiser with "Real is Original."

Coldwell Banker follows its Grammys buy with an Oscars ad, part of a big push by real-estate advertisers as the housing market shows signs of coming back.

What did you think of the night's advertising performance?

~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that Hyundai was the exclusive auto sponsor for more than a decade. It has only been the exclusive auto sponsor of the Oscars for five years. Ad Age regrets the error.

Most Popular
In this article: