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For some, the only thing better than the movies is the awards shows that celebrate them. And with the 83rd Annual Academy Awards set to air this Sunday, Feb. 27, theaters this week are sure to be packed, as movie buffs catch the last of this year’s nominated films (the Academy isn’t making this easy since they re-upped the Best Picture nominees to 10 last year). Talking to a Vertical Marketing Network coworker this week, I got to thinking that in many ways, film fans are like your average consumer: informed, opinionated and always ready for the next big thing. ABC reported last year’s Oscars averaged 41.3 million viewers, and while that number seems almost lame compared to this month’s record-breaking Super Bowl broadcast (which reported a whopping 111 million viewers), marketers can’t deny the facts: where there are stars, there are viewers, and where there are viewers, there are opportunities to engage consumers in both classic and innovative ways. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps it’s not the awards that matter at all, but the efforts that are made for a movie — or even a brand — to stand out from the rest, to attract buzz and ultimately to shine long after the red carpet has been rolled up ’til next year.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like effective marketing is a lot like movie making. Sure, everybody wants to be “the best,” but it’s more important to be memorable and “moving.”
Like all savvy consumers, film fans like to stay current, not just to keep up with the Joneses, but to have an informed opinion. Striving for an award — whether it’s an Oscar, a Reggie Award, or a ChefsBest Award — is worth our while; recognition is a good thing, as it motivates, creates awareness and just feels good. No one can deny the power of winning an award. But marketers are in the business of selling consumer goods and services; to not think beyond the immediate reward would be foolish. Thus, when creating a campaign, it’s important to think beyond industry recognition and consider the real objectives:
Think less Oscars and more People’s Choice. Some may consider the latter less prestigious, but if we consider the difference between a select few judging the end product (as in the Oscars) versus the body politic (power to the people), the concept of the Everyday Consumer as Judge is a powerful one. Statistics on the matter are sadly lacking, but the theory is no less easy to grasp: of the winners of this year’s People Choice Awards for movies, very few were nominated for the industry-coveted Academy Award. Still, the names that did win at January’s People’s Choice Awards — not just in film categories, but across the entertainment spectrum — are likely to be both remembered and revered (Glee, Zac Efron, Rachel Ray, The Simpsons, and The Twilight Saga, to name a few), than say an important Spanish art-house film. Do they both serve a place in the cultural mainstream? Absolutely, because they resonate with audiences albeit in different ways. But how many consumers actually use an award as the basis for consumption? When it comes to movies, plenty. The Oscars pack theaters all year long, and then some. But in the marketing world, a good campaign is rewarded because it meets its objective, ultimately sales and profits. Yet, that’s not why consumers buy. As one film blogger pointed out, “The films [nay, products] that will be remembered are the ones that people personally enjoy, and regardless of whether it won best screenplay, or best director, there are people out there that will remember them for the enjoyment they get when they watch [or, use] them.” At Vertical Marketing Network, we couldn’t agree more. And so we applaud the creators, directors, teams and visionaries of memorable marketing campaigns, whether they’ve won awards, or not.
We “move” consumers to buy, and that’s worth its weight in Oscar gold.