Oscars in the age of the social network

Glamour, fashion, sun, money, beautiful people– by default, the Oscars has lined up all the elements for good marketing, and one would think they can do nothing wrong. Our obsession with celebrities mean that people will naturally flock around the TV and watch the Oscars, to ogle at dolled up celebrities and just so they will be able to relate during water cooler conversations at work the next day. In an effort to make the show more contemporary and provide it with a youthful vibe, the Academy had two twentysomethings host the show– both fine actors in their own right but definitely not seasoned emcees. The end result looks something like what reality would look like when kids overthrow grown ups and reign over the world.

Second, they wanted to make it Oscar 2.0– an interactive event in the hopes of garnering the attention of online and TV audiences. I think the Academy tried too hard to make the event hip and relevant in these modern times. A few hours before the event aired live on TV, we visited the website and found that they wanted to promote the concept of an interactive Oscars. With elements like “My Oscars,” where you can view an evite, add winner picks, and download apps for your mobile phone, they really tried to push toward engaging the audience online. Yet, they stopped short at integrating their promotions both offline and online simultaneously, away from what American Idol and other reality TV shows have successfully done. Towards the latter part of the event, which is arguably the most important part of the 3-hour show, there was little mention if any, of their online promotions.

I think their plan to be more interactive would be better served if they had added and implemented these more strongly:
1. Prizes for online winners who best predicted the the trophy winners. These prizes could include a mock-Oscar trophy, a gift from one of their sponsors
2. Text-in their votes during the show, and the winner can get an autographed DVD/CD of the film/soundtrack they voted for.
3. Capitalized on the youth and tech-savvyness of their young hosts by having them publicize Facebook, Twitter or other social networking handles to draw in more people, such as social media enthusiasts and marketers who would talk about the event in these spaces for days after it had taken place.
4. Promoted the event from a celebrity standpoint before, during and after the event, in order to allow the audience to get a closer experience of the awards night. Year after year, we all feel like spectators who sit infront of their TVs come 3 pm Pacific on the last Sunday of February to ogle at these celebrities. Why not make the audience part of the experience. I’m sure many people would love to see what happens in the homes and minds of these celebrities in the morning before the event, and they would also be interested on what these celebrities would do with the party favors they take home afterward.

These are just some few suggestions on how to usher the Oscars into a more socially networked, hyperinteractive world. I think our relationship toward celebrities and the media will also shift– we are not just spectator of their lives, but we also become part of their celebrity status, which is what we’re attracted to the most.


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