People who tune in to the Oscars expect to thrill to seeing famous actors and Hollywood’s favorite films. But those viewers will also get a look at commercials aimed at one of TV’s biggest crowds of the year.
General Motors’ Cadillac has prepared at least two commercials tailored just for ABC’s broadcast this Sunday of the 92nd Academy Awards. Regina King is featured in ads that aim to appeal to people who research shows are pre-disposed to want to own a Cadillac, says Melissa Grady, chief marketing officer of Cadillac, in an interview. “People who are drawn to the brand have a sense of ownership,” she says. “You earn a Cadillac.” King is also expected to have a “red carpet moment” that involves her and a Cadillac.
“I believe the best way to celebrate success is to focus on making your next venture the best it can possibly be,.” says King, in a prepared statement. “‘What’s next’ is a question I ask myself as both an actress and a director. It is the same with Cadillac, they are also looking for ‘what’s next,’ and that is something I can relate to.”
The spots with King in them will have her telling audiences her story of developing her career as an actor and director – and could provide an interesting counterpoint during an event that will boast of no female candidates in the “Best Director” category. But they also illustrate how Walt Disney’s ABC has been working to make commercials more a part of the overall viewing experience.
“You will see creative that really can only live in the Oscars,” says Jerry Daniello, senior vice president, entertainment brand solutions, for Disney Advertising Sales, in an interview. “We are working closely with the Academy and the producers of the show to find thematic elements that clients can latch on to for their creative and make deals that are truly custom.” Disney’s internal creative unit worked with Cadillac to create the spots featuring King.
There’s reason for Disney to lend its advertisers a hand. Like Super Bowl LIV, broadcast earlier this week, the Oscars remain one of the few TV events that continue to draw an outsize live audience that is ready to watch commercials as well the event they support. ABC’s 2019 broadcast captured $114 million, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending, down from $132 million in 2018 – the Oscars’ lowest-rated event of all time.
ABC has been seeking between $2.4 million and $2.8 million for a 30-second commercial, according to people familiar with the matter, But the average price of a 30-second ad in the Oscars fell 5% last year, according to Kantar, to $1.98 million from $2.09 million.
Disney’s Daniello expects many entertainment and media companies to run ads showcasing new streaming-video options – a natural for an audience that is already interested in movies and filmed entertainment. Marketers of high-end luxury goods, automobiles and pharmaceuticals will also provide sponsorship, he says.