The Oscars the last of the “nonDVRable” events

With the extinction of the “cliff hanger,” we live in a universe where there are simply far fewer “non DVRable” occasions. But the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars remain. And they continue to offer marketers the chance to engage consumers on a galactic scale; the payoff being the convergence of millions of eyeballs and the creation of billions of impressions.

But while this trinity of televised events provide similar scope, it is increasingly evident that the vibrational frequency of each has become as unique as the signs of the Zodiac.

Of course the first seasonal sighting, and by far still the largest, is the Super Bowl. By it’s very nature the Super Bowl is a festive occasion. No surprise that the predominate personality trait of successful Super Bowl campaigns is an irreverent sense of humor.

Likewise, Grammy campaigns exhibit their own personality attributes. If a brand can’t harness creative that delivers an unapologetic hipness factor, then it shouldn’t bother coming. There’s nothing worse than a campaign that shows up at the Grammy’s with a less than fabulous future forward creative.

And then there is the Oscars, the event we all witnessed last night. The most intellectually charged of the three, the Oscars is, in a word, provocative. It’s the event most likely to make us think. As the presenters and award winners opine on the pressing issues of our time, (race, climate change, sexual abuse) the smartest marketers in the room are encouraging us to open our minds and see the world differently.

So for me, last night required more than a little bit of soul searching. Between acceptance speeches, I found myself, thinking, questioning, and pondering.

Is it possible that, as a brand, Kohl’s has a much more sophisticated worldview than I gave them credit for? Their work last night demonstrated an progressive attitude that forever changed the way I think about that brand.

Is it possible that Cadillac can be the new luxury car for Millennials? As an oft-cynical baby boomer I was emotionally prepared to witness that particular car brand gobbled up by the black hole of irrelevance. But honestly, the Dare Greatly strategy hit my like a meteor from a distant galaxy. Perhaps Cadillac can reinvent itself by associating the brand with the very people who are reinventing how we live.

Is it possible that IBM can raise it’s voice on the technology conversation. The new Watson work elevates the cultural relevance of the brand to new level

Is it possible that Stella Artois and their Buy a lady a drink campaign is much more suited to the Oscars than to the Super Bowl? InBev (the same company that brought us the Bud Light Party with Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer) deserves kudos for their willingness to engage the conversation on inclusion.

And then there was the elephant in the room; our diversity. We are a uniquely mixed nation. But is it possible that we can focus on what collectively makes us strong rather than on what makes us different? The answer to that one should be a resounding “yes.” So for me, Android’s “Together but not the same,” campaign was the most provocative. And the “Rock, Paper, Scissors spot was the shinning orb of the evening. Brilliant idea. Stunning execution. If there was an Oscar for most strategic agency you have to give Droga 5 the statue.

As creative directors we are trained to infuse campaigns with emotional linkage. But last night I had to ask myself whether my bias toward making people laugh or making them cry needed altering. I’ve gained a new respect for the power of making people think.  As we face the issues and opportunities of our world, perhaps this genre of thought provoking creative provides the most cut through of all.

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