Davis downplays advertising's role

There’s already enough tension associated with Oscar campaigns, but now the lofty leaders of the Academy are adding to the angst. Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, has dispatched letters that express tacit disdain for the marketing advisers hired by distributors to plan their campaigns.

In a letter to producers of foreign-language entries, Davis advises that ad and PR consultants “have a lack of familiarity with the procedures of the Academy.” These advisers, says Davis, recommend that producers and distributors support their entries with advertising — money that’s spent “absolutely pointlessly.” According to Davis, the “artists and craftspeople” who vote for this category “resist attempts to herd them.”

Leaders of the advertising industry, to be sure, might be surprised to learn that ads have no impact on the Academy constituency — Oscar voters might also be surprised. Nonetheless, Davis says in his missive that the Acad wants to “make sure that you have accurate information regarding the role of advertising.”

He also said that he wanted to ensure that cash-strapped overseas filmmakers and distribs didn’t feel compelled to reach into their pockets to underwrite massive ad campaigns.

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