I’m a huge Oscars fan. Every year since college, my best friend and I would hold an Oscar party to celebrate our love of the movies. Although as time progressed, the parties have gone from a ruckus affair to just me, her, and her sleeping husband with some snacks, it’s still a tradition to watch the program in its entirety every year. This year seemed to be more about politics than the movies themselves – with the uproar of no minorities being nominated being mentioned at every turn, speeches filled with messages of climate change, peace in the MidEast, and even a powerful performance by Lady Gaga with a song about sexual abuse. When did the Oscars become an outlet for political agendas?
Anyway, many people don’t realize that the Oscars are really awards based on the prowess of marketers. Sure Leo was outstanding in his Oscar-winning role (though I thought he was better in “The Wolf on Wall Street,” but that’s just me), but without the push of a marketer, his film probably wouldn’t have been looked at.
Hollywood gets to work marketing to the Oscars even before the nominations are even announced. It’s the marketer’s responsibility to make sure certain movies get the golden nod. Making the movie is easier than getting it nominated. There are film festivals for the movie to be shown at, public appearances by the actors, the gauntlet of press junkets, and even “for your consideration” ads that run in the trades. According to a recent article in AdWeek, it can cost from $3 million to more than $10 million to campaign for a Best Picture nominee. Can you imagine having a marketing budget like that?!
Is it all necessary? Doesn’t talent play a part in these campaigns? Well, not really according to Oscars watcher Tom O’Neil: “No Best Picture nominee has gotten there without a campaign in 40 years. To be in the race, you have to spend the money, hire the consultants, mount the offensive.”
It’s a lesson we can all learn. Even if you’re the best in your industry, your talent will only get you so far. No one sees talent – they see the ad in front of their face. In order to get the right clients, you’re going to need a great marketing staff to promote you to the right people. And yes, you’re going to have to spend a little cash in order to get the benefits.
So when you’re complaining that you think “Spotlight” didn’t deserve the award, just think their marketing crew was better than the other guys.