During this Sunday’s live broadcast of the 82nd Academy Awards on ABC, the digital marketing team from E! Entertainment and a Google sales rep will feverishly be making real-time tweaks to E’s Internet ad campaign as the drama plays out onstage.
If a celebrity makes a red-carpet appearance wearing outlandish attire or an award winner makes a newsworthy speech, E will alter its Oscars-related ads within minutes. The media company’s goal is to make sure consumers searching for the subject on the Web find their way to E’s online photo galleries, live blogs and fashion-police critiques.
E isn’t officially broadcasting the Academy Awards on its network. But it is determined to attract the biggest audience it can—and the most advertising—by piggybacking on the gala. It has a full lineup of TV and online coverage planned, including a four-hour red-carpet countdown and a 90-minute after-party show. The live updates to its search ads will help it position its online coverage at the top of the Google search results for people seeking Academy Awards-related content, says Suzanne Kolb, president of marketing, news and online for E! Entertainment, a unit of Comcast. “We kind of go all out,” she says.
Some big advertisers from last year’s broadcast aren’t returning this year. MasterCard and PepsiCo, the fourth- and fifth-biggest ad spenders in last year’s broadcast according to Kantar, aren’t buying ads during the Oscars this year. PepsiCo, which didn’t advertise its beverages in the Super Bowl this year either, is building sponsorships for new “culture-shaping” events, such as South by Southwest, an interactive film and music festival, and BlogHer, a women’s blogging conference, says Bonin Bough, director of global social media for PepsiCo.