In the past few years, the Oscars have become the do-not-miss award show in a season full of award shows. This has caused marketers to pick up their game and debut ads that are just as creative as the ones shown during the Super Bowl.
This year’s Oscars had no shortage of good commercials and we wanted to walk you through our list, both to give good marketing a shout-out, and to tell you what we think worked about each. We hope you’ll be able to use some of these insights when you think about your own company’s marketing strategy.
The Pepsi Mini commercial had its fans and detractors, but it was definitely noteworthy and stood out from the others, because it’s topical. What demographic is watching the Oscars? Movie lovers. What’s the best way to hook movie lovers? Fill a commercial with over a dozen of their most favorite quotes.
The Snickers commercial works along the same lines of the Pepsi one, by staying topical and giving a shout-out to the long history of the Godzilla movie franchise. Note the extra cleverness: while these Snickers commercials usually have the cantankerous individual turn into a normal person after eating a Snickers, this time angry Godzilla just turns into happy Godzilla.
The first thing the Lipton commercial has going for it is obviously that it has the Muppets. Such mighty allies are tough to beat. But the commercial actually works on a much more subtle level. Notice the rebranding that is taking place. The commercial is funny because it effectively calls everyone in NYC an Animal. But Kermit is there to counteract the madness with his calm and helpful persona. By encouraging other to “Be More Tea,” Lipton has taken tea, which is a product, and turned it into an attitude.
It’s probably the biggest brand makeover tea has ever received, and we’ll be surprised if we don’t see more commercials along the same line from Lipton soon.
The AARP commercial took us by surprise by turning a stereotype on its head (again, this is rebranding). When anyone mentions AARP, our first thought is about retired individuals lounging around somewhere in Florida. The new, cooler AARP has a point: with improvements in healthcare, more and more people of AARP-membership age are now continuing to work, heck, even starting new careers. The AARP is attempting to position itself as a cool ally for these types of late-life goals.
The Dove commercial made successful use of humor to get the attention of viewers. Heck, who has ever given armpits a second thought? Then Dove goes ahead and points out a series of obvious truths all adding up to one basic fact: armpits suffer a lot of stress on a daily basis. Dove has called attention to a problem to which their product is the solution.
Easily the most controversial commercial of the bunch, this ad used both humor and rebranding, as well as tapping into a lifestyle, to promote Cadillac’s new electric car. The commercial gives a loud Hurrah! to American work ethic while poking fun of those pesky, “lazy” Europeans. It was tongue-in-cheek enough to not be called out as ignorant, but also let a certain demographic (those that can afford a Cadillac) rejoice in their lifestyle.
There was also something more subtle going on—this might have been the first electric car commercial that didn’t explicitly mention that the car is electric. By using an electric car so matter-of-factly, Cadillac has established the vehicle as one that can compete not only with other electric cars, but with all luxury automobiles, period.
Yes, we are probably overthinking it, but hey, overthinking marketing is what we do for a living. Join us next week for the Little Jack monthly newsletter, and sign up to receive our Fist Pump Fridays via email every week!