Hyundai, JC Penney and Coca-Cola return

ABC announced Wednesday that its three major telecast sponsors will return for the 84th Oscarcast.

Hyundai, JC Penney and Coca-Cola — the top three spenders for the show last year, representing 40% of the total ad revenue — were on the partial list of names ABC released. American Express, AT&T, Kraft, McDonald’s, MetLife, Paramount Pictures, Samsung, Sprint, Stella-Artois, Travelocity and Disney were also listed.

Previous advertisers are always given priority, but some brands — including Kraft, MetLife, Samsung and Travelocity — will be making their debut on this year’s telecast.

Amazon, Best Buy and Living Social were first-time advertisers during last year’s telecast but won’t be making an appearance this year.

The ceremony has become a place for brands to reveal new creative, too. JC Penney, which has been the official retail sponsor for more than a decade, will debut a new commercial that’s part of its Fair and Square initiative. Diet Coke confirmed that its new commercial airing during the Oscars will celebrate the film industry. Stella-Artois will also unveil a new TV spot.

MetLife will air a new blurb in a campaign that began during the Super Bowl, according to Richard Hong, VP of global brand and marketing.

“The Oscars is another one of those big telecast tentpoles. It’s emerged as the kind of environment where people tune in to see what the advertisers are doing as much as the show itself,” Hong said.

Bob Iger recently announced during a first-quarter earnings call that all inventory for the 2012 telecast had been sold.

The show is usually the second most expensive network TV buy, right after the Super Bowl, but the total inventory available per hour is about 40% less than in a typical hour of primetime. The Academy limits the commercial time to eight to 10 minutes per hour, including ABC show promos; an hour of primetime usually contains about 16 minutes of commercials and promos.

ABC, which will celebrate its 37th year of broadcasting the show live, plays a big role in making sure that the Academy’s buzz machine is in full gear well in advance of the ceremony, including developing an Oscar app for the iPhone and iPad and designing and maintaining Oscars.com.

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