As viewers watch ABC on Sunday evening for coverage of the 86th annual Academy Awards, they will see commercials for more than a dozen organizations or companies like AARP, Coldwell Banker, General Motors, Mars, J. C. Penney and Unilever. Those spots will, however, be only part of the marketing efforts that seek to walk the red carpet with Oscar.
Events can help “bring brands to life,” said Carol Hamilton, president of the L’Oréal Luxe division of L’Oréal USA, a lead sponsor with the Chrysler brand of an elaborate experiential event called the Vanity Fair Social Club; participating L’Oréal brands include Giorgio Armani Beauty, Clarisonic and Lancôme. Vanity Fair has invited more than 120 bloggers and online reporters covering the Oscars to use branded WeWork work spaces on Hollywood Boulevard outfitted with amenities like a media wall, a faux food truck and a vending machine powered by Twitter — i.e., giving away merchandise in exchange for posts that use sponsor hashtags and handles. The reporters and bloggers planning to work from and visit the newsroom-cum-lounge are “influential,” Ms. Hamilton said, reaching an estimated 20 million consumers who can now “be involved in the week leading up to the big event.”
The Evite experiential marketing effort centered on the Academy Awards is part of a partnership the company formed last month with ConnecTV, a social video network for television viewers. The intent is to encourage consumers to host in-home and virtual viewing parties for what are known as big television events that, in addition to the Oscars, include the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Olympics. “It’s the physical meets the digital,” said Jennifer Dominiquini, chief marketing officer at Evite, “with everyone all joining together in one social moment.”
The Banana Republic experiential marketing initiative, like Evite’s, is unofficial. On the Banana Republic channel on YouTube, Justine, a YouTube celebrity, will appear live on the red carpet in a custom version of a dress from the Banana Republic spring collection. “It’s a very different way” for the brand “to engage,” said Catherine Sadler, global chief marketing officer at Banana Republic, part of Gap Inc. “It’s the first time we’re doing a digital media integration inserting ourselves into pop culture to increase our brand voice and relevance.”
Which brand will take home the Oscar or make a splash on the Red Carpet Sunday night? Let us know what you think and as always stay #TopRight.