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And the best branding Oscar goes to...

The 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood saw the annual gathering of the brightest stars and biggest brands. Zoe Jones, marketing director at Digital Cinema Media (DCM), enjoys the moment and looks at the marketing frenzy.

DCM's Zoe Jones talks Oscars

DCM's Zoe Jones talks Oscars

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As we all know by now, the Oscars dominated social media on Sunday, with host Ellen DeGeneres posting the ultimate celebrity selfie during the live telecast.

The picture, taken by nominee Bradley Cooper, of DeGeneres surrounded by Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey smashed the Twitter retweet record set by Barack and Michelle Obama, after it was retweeted more than two million times.

Big fashion-brand winners included Armani and Prada who dressed Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett and Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong'o. Coveted mentions in today's ubiquitous Best Dressed lists were also secured by Dior, Alexander McQueen and Versace.

Who's wearing what can often appear to overshadow who's winning what, but what may seem trivial to an avid film fan can translate to millions of dollars for these brands.

Other brands competing for attention through ever more integrated experiential marketing around the Oscars this year included Banana Republic, Fiat, Stella Artois, Grey Goose, L’Oreal and two magazines, People and Vanity Fair.

Vanity Fair hosts the coveted go-to after-party, now in its 19th year,. The magazine has also extended its presence to include a Vanity Fair Social Club that incorporates branded work spaces for influential bloggers and online reporters that are fitted out with amenities such as a media wall and a vending machine powered by Twitter – giving away merchandise in exchange for sponsor-friendly posts.

However, all of this activity is dwarfed by the biggest Oscars branding achievement of them all – the phenomenon of awards season that has become known as the 'McConnaisance'.

Matthew McConaughey's acceptance of the Best Actor award was the culmination of an extensive rebranding exercise that has transformed his career.

After some initially fantastic performances in' Dazed & Confused' and 'A Time to Kill', he built up a solid catalogue of rom-coms, reaching a nadir in the Scrooge-inspired lead role in the 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past'.

According to McConaughey: "I was getting a lot of the same sort of submissions, some comedies, some action adventure, and I remember thinking 'I like that, but I could do that next week'.

"I want to read something that spooks and scares me and challenges me and makes me feel like 'I don’t know what I'm gonna do with that, but I can’t wait to find out'. So what I had to do was say no to some things."

Bravely saying "no" led to a six-month dry spell that gave him and his audience the space to appreciate the top-notch performances to follow. His career-defining performance in 'Dallas Buyers Club' was preceded by impressive turns in 'The Lincoln Lawyer,' 'Killer Joe', 'Magic Mike' and 'Mud'.

The standout quote of his breakout role as Wooderson in 'Dazed & Confused': "You just gotta keep livin', man, L-I-V-I-N", was referenced at the end of his passionate Oscars speech that has seen him come full circle in his career:

"So to any of us, whatever those things are and whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we're chasing, to that I say Amen. To that I say alright, alright, alright. And just keep living, huh? Thank you."

His Oscar achievement will now be followed up by the lead role in the next Christopher Nolan blockbuster, Interstellar. He’s made it look relatively easy, apart from the recent 50-pound weight loss, but as many brands will know, transforming established perceptions is anything but.

Perhaps all of us could learn from the "McConnaisance" approach, which started with simply saying "no" and then a selective "yes" to the right brand opportunities.

And finally…

My Oscars inspired blog would not be complete without referencing the results of the equally anticipated Digital Cinema Media Fantasy Film League (DCM FFL), as reported on MediaWeek last Thursday.

Back in January, DCM asked the media industry to vote on who they thought would win on the night. From the 10 categories the FFL was asked to vote on, the following categories were correctly predicted: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Animation, Best Foreign Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, giving the DCM FFL an impressive 80% accuracy rate.

The top 10 entrants scoring a perfect 10 out of 10 were:

  • James McGregor, account manager at MediaCom
  • James Wilby, investment AD at MGOMD
  • Leon Ho, account manager at MJ Media
  • Alex Samburschi, digital media buyer at OMD
  • Daniel Baker, investment group manager, PHD
  • John-Paul Pierrot, marketing executive at Picturehouse Cinemas
  • Jo Juan-Gardiner, marketing research analyst at Val Morgan
  • Jack Kidd, senior planner buyer at Walker Media
  • Jessica Lawrenece, planning executive at ZenithOptimedia
  • Richard Shotton, head of insight at ZenithOptimedia

The overall winner of the DCM FFL, picked at random from the top 10 entrants, is:

Jack Kidd, senior planner buyer at Walker Media, who wins The Ultimate Red Carpet Experience including dinner, drinks, a London première and 5* overnight stay.

Zoe Jones, marketing director at Digital Cinema Media (DCM)

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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