Each year, on a Sunday night in February, actors and actresses walk the red carpet at the Oscars and hope to be recognized as the most elite in their industry. The Oscars ceremony, created in 1929, honors the top films, filmmakers and actors of that year. Marketing, of course, plays a role in the selection of nominees and the winners.
Millions of dollars are spent on advertising, parties and screeners to lobby academy voters on behalf of just the Best Picture nominees. Movies with heavy marketing efforts are more likely to be noticed by the Academy.
According to Tridib Mazumdar, a marketing professor at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, marketing efforts typically increase when a movie, actor or director is nominated for an Oscar. In 2014, a Best Picture nominee doubled their advertising spend after receiving a nomination. Advertising for “Manchester by the Sea” has increased exponentially from December into February in an attempt to get a nomination and a win.
“These marketing activities create a heightened buzz and online postings on well- known movie sites and blogs,” explained Mazumdar. “There is also a secondary effect when the nominated individuals are invited to TV programs or online for a to talk about the movies and their experiences, etc. – these act as free advertisements for the movie.”
According to Adweek, these weeks of press appearances can be grueling for the stars but can truly have an impact on the likelihood that they or their movie wins the Oscar. Tom O’Neil, a longtime journalist in show business, notes that “No Best Picture nominee has gotten there without a campaign in 40 years.”
Following the Academy Awards, winners are heavily marketed as well. The validation of the Oscar win, or even nomination, means that more people want to see the movie. They stay in theaters longer and are downloaded and streamed more.
Marketing is also important for stars’ personal brands following the Oscar awards. Oscar winners earn more money after winning an Academy award. Their asking price can increase by as much as 20 percent.
All in all, the Oscars are an important night to recognize accomplishments in the movie and entertainment industry, as well as a fun night for movie fans to ogle at their favorite stars.