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ABC Will Test New Commercial Format During Oscars

Lady Gaga and Viggo Mortensen aren’t the only entities set to take a star turn during ABC’s coming broadcast of the Oscars.

Marriott International will get its own commercial break during ABC’s telecast this Sunday evening. Viewers will see a 30-second promo for the hotel operator and then a 60 second ad for its new Bonvoy rewards program before the network goes right back into the show, part of the Walt Disney network’s ongoing efforts to make more sponsors of the glitzy awards event a part of the program itself. While many networks have allowed an advertiser to have its own individual ad “pod,” ABC has not used the format during past Oscars broadcasts.

“It feels like there are great links between the content of the Oscars and the content that our advertisers are developing to debut in the Oscars,” says Jerry Daniello, senior vice president, entertainment brand solutions, for Disney Advertising Sales, in an interview.

One advertiser is expected to unveil a tie-in to the network’s pre-show red-carpet coverage. And 16 advertisers will have either content tailored to their appearance during the event or debut new creative work.

Recent controversies about the format of the program and its lack of host have not crimped ad demand “at all,” Daniello says. ABC sold out its available commercial inventory in what is expected to be a three-hour (and possibly longer) broadcast about two weeks ago, Daniello adds. ABC had been seeking between $2 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot. “It actually caused a lot of conversation,” he says. “Clients wanted to know how they might attach themselves to those moments.” ABC signed a good chunk of its ad base during last year’s “upfront” market, he says, well before efforts to find a host for the Oscars floundered.

Among this year’s advertisers are General Motors’ Cadillac; Google; Marriott Bonvoy; Rolex; Samsung; Verizon and Walmart; Budweiser; Ferrero; Hennessy Cognac; IBM; Intuit’s TurboTax; McDonald’s; Paramount and Walt Disney Studios. If some of the companies that used the Super Bowl to unveil new projects for video-streaming services intend to use the Oscars for the same purpose, they haven’t unveiled their intentions as of yet.

 

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