“This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans, and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us”, Jimmy Kimmel chuckles as the award show begins. “I’m not the man to unite this country, but it can be done.” He then offers his audience a call to action: “If every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with, someone you like, and have a positive, considerate conversation, […], if we could all do that, we can make America great again.” A moment of comic relief ensues as Kimmel takes the first step (or casts the first stone), throwing shade at long-time frenemy Matt Damon: “I’ve known Matt so long that when I first met Matt, I was the fat one”.
Kimmel wasn’t the only one mixing serious thought starters with moments of lighthearted fun. The evening was underpinned by notions of inclusivity, utility and meaning, both on stage and during the commercial breaks that generated over USD 115 Million in ad revenue.
Hot tweetaway: The #Oscars: an evening underpinned by #inclusivity #utility & #meaning insit.es/2lPzRWO by @giuliagasperi via @CoolBrands
Here are my personal highlights.
Justin Timberlake’s intro performance started on stage and ended in the crowd. Dancing with his wife, Jessica Biel, and with many other stars, Timberlake brought ’Can’t Stop The Feeling’ to life in a meaningful and connected way.
Cadillac provocatively addressed a Nation Divided in an ode to the American Dream. Building on what it means to drive the world forward and to dare, I feel they were able to land a stronger message compared to Ford’s Super Bowl content from earlier this month. YouTube Red aired the trailer for its Original Documentary about Transgender Superstar Gigi Gorgeous, titled This is Everything.
The New York Times broke its TV commercial silence for the first time in 7 years with ‘The Truth Is Hard’, which collected more than 5 million YouTube views over the past 4 days, igniting yet another #fakenews debate.
M&M’s invited fans to create their own beats online, in an effort to bring them closer to the brand through musical self-expression. The brand intends to use the top #bitesizebeats in upcoming commercials.
Google extended its ‘Search On’ series with a heartwarming Google Maps storytelling segment featuring Saroo Brierley, the young boy that inspired Academy Award 6-time nominee ‘Lion’. In his Red Carpet appearance, Dev Patel (who plays Saroo) stressed the importance of telling stories that matter.
Next to bringing meaning, stories that matter can also be about offering utility.
This perspective came to life in another Google commercial, which pokes fun at Apple by capturing the sinking feeling of running out of storage at the worst possible moments.
Samsung, an Oscars staple brand, dominated the entire show with a cohesive blend of content, storytelling and activation examples:
- Vlogger Casey Neistat’s Acceptance Speech was a shout out to the makers, the directors and the creators of this generation who “know it’s not the size of the production that matters, it’s what we make”. A call for everyone with a phone in their pocket to unlock their creative potential.
- Other Samsung creative focused on the promise to make quality a priority, echoing a constructive build on last year’s Note 7 shockwave
- Karlie Kloss snapped a Gear 360 camera shot on the red carpet
- Samsung announced a New York Times collaboration that focuses on storytelling, taking audience into moments and stressing “the world is as big as you make it”
Hot tweetaway: How @Samsung dominated the #Oscars show with content, storytelling & activation insit.es/2lPzRWO by @giuliagasperi via @CoolBrands
GE took the TV commercial stage with a powerful nod to female scientists, committing to placing 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020. Hyatt launched A world of Understanding, a MullenLowe piece that highlights how random acts of kindness can bring strangers closer together. While not taking any Oscars home, Hidden Figures got several NASA shout outs on Twitter and Katherine Johnson was received by roaring applause as she was brought on stage.
Some fashion & beauty brands brought more than glitz & glamour to the red carpet.
Revlon featured the Love Project, a charity campaign in collaboration with the Women’s Heart Alliance and featuring Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres and Pharrell Williams.
Marchesa teamed up with Stella Artois, Water.org and former Miss USA Olivia Culpo to walk the red carpet in a dress designed in support of a clean drinking water campaign. And Nike’s iconic Nike Mag sneakers from Back to the Future were sported by Seth Rogen as he stepped out of a Delorean with Michael J. Fox – a dream come true for Rogen that had made hearts swell in the room and around the world.
Hot tweetaway: #Fashion & #beauty brands brought more than glitz & glamour to the #Oscars red carpet insit.es/2lPzRWO by @giuliagasperi via @CoolBrands
Virgin Atlantic took to Twitter with the #FlyingFilms hashtag, asking followers to tweet playful spins on nominated or favorite movies in an effort to drive awareness around the quality and breadth of their in-flight entertainment program. Manchester Airport By The Sea, the Hangar Games, Fly Another Day and Lord of the Wings are just a few examples of this fun co-creation effort.
Out of over 80 film submissions, the 5 nominees for the Foreign Film category primarily represented Western Markets (Germany, Australia, Sweden, Denmark). But it was Iran who took home the prize. Anousheh Ansari accepted the Oscar on behalf of director Asghar Farhandi and took the opportunity to address the US travel ban: the director’s absence was an intentional sign of respect toward Iranians and citizens of countries excluded from entering the USA. “Dividing the world creates fear. Films create empathy between us and others, and empathy we need today more than ever”, she said. In yet another PR faux pas, the US state department tweeted and then deleted a congratulation message.
Walmart launched 3 short films by award-winning directors (alas – all men), all revolving around a single ‘Receipt’. You’ll notice that while all 3 storylines feature kids and are set in dreamlike realities, the emotional universe each of them evokes is completely different – ranging from nostalgic (The Gift by Antoine Fuqua) to esoteric and post-apocalyptic (Lost & Found by Marc Foster) to hilariously absurd (Bananas Town by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg).
With many highlights, the show ironically fell flat in the big finale.
The award for Best Picture was accidentally given to La La Land, and it was not until after 3 producers had given their speech that the true winner, Moonlight, was announced. While the mistake detracted a great deal of meaning from this incredibly meaningful award, it was not the only nod to the start of a new chapter in the world of the Academy Awards. From AMPAS president Cheryl Bone Isaacs speech to Mahershala Ali’s win of Best Supporting Actor, the Oscars are showing signs of progress in the attempt to step away from the long-time image of a White Boys Club.
Hot tweetaway: The #Oscars attempt to step away from the White Boys Club insit.es/2lPzRWO by @giuliagasperi via @CoolBrands #diversity #inclusivity
Congratulations to all the nominees & winners and to those that worked hard behind the scenes to make it happen – here’s to looking forward to a future that is even more meaningful, useful and inclusive for all of us.