Nostalgia Reigns over Awards Season
Some critics took a harder line toward the Academy's awarding "Green Book" its highest honor, but perhaps the key to the film's victory was more mundane. As Vox's Todd VanDerWerff pointed out, "Green Book" is "a comforting fantasy … that safely situates a problem in the past." In uncertain times, it's not unusual that audiences would also see the appeal of the comfort nostalgia can add to a feature film—or a high-profile ad.
Among the biggest names advertising during the Oscars, Budweiser, Rolex, Samsung and Google played off the movie theme with some old-school hip-hop, punk and (why not) Doris Day thrown in for good measure:
Budweiser's 60-second ad, set to the tune of Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Tricky," for the limited-edition Reserve Copper Lager stars Charlize Theron in "Atomic Blonde" mode. "Hold my beer," Theron says to a bystander in a rowdy dive bar, before stepping up to the pool table and obliterating every man in the bar at billiards, darts, a coin-operated boxing machine and arm-wrestling, all with her unspilled pint in hand. The VaynerMedia spot ends with Theron's voice: "There's a new Bud in town."
Rolex released a series of ads by J. Walter Thompson New York featuring legendary, Oscar-winning directors Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro Iñárittu—and utilizing montages of their greatest films—each writing letters to "future filmmakers." Google's 60-second spot runs through movie history from "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Hangover" and "Lady Bird" to "Scream" and "Deadpool," as characters from each film use the brand's voice-activated assistant to help them accomplish myriad tasks. Samsung's commercial literally connects the past to "The Future"—all to the tune of Doris Day singing "Que Sera Sera" ("The future's not ours to see"). The Leo Burnett Chicago spot depicts people using their Galaxy phones to do everything from designing fashion to controlling a tattoo robot to monitoring a baby in vitro via ultrasound.
Some of the most notable Super Bowl LIII spots also leaned hard on nostalgia, including Doritos and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' "Now It's Hot," which mashed up Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys circa 1999 for a hip-hop flavored "I Want It That Way" to promote the brand's new Flamin' Hot Nacho flavor; Burger King, David Miami and MullenLowe's instantly iconic (and polarizing) "Eat Like Andy," which repurposed film of the late Andy Warhol chowing down on a Whopper; and MoonPie and Tombras Group's "Super Bowl-adjacent" productions of the jokey anti-ad scripts they first debuted on Twitter last year and released online during this year's game under the hashtag #TheBigThing.