“The 20th century concept of selling to consumers is long gone”

The live ABC Television Network broadcast of the 84th Annual Academy Awards® from the Hollywood and Highland Center, in Hollywood, CA, Sunday, February 26, 2012.

“The 20th century concept of selling to consumers is long gone…

replaced by inspiring and guiding people along their decision journey. Smart brands have found the most effective way of guiding people is to engage their emotions and imagination and – where possible –encourage them to share and participate.” (Source: M and M Global)

87th academy awards

Hopes were dashed last Sunday night at the Oscars, with surprise wins in most categories. An article I read the day after, called How much is Birdman’s Oscar worth? | Blog | M&M talked about the loss of influence the Oscars have in stimulating box office sales for the nominees and winners. Independent films or not mainstream targeted films usually benefit from what is called the “Oscar Bump,” but the article I read seems to think that the phenomenon isn’t real anymore.

Although the winners haven’t made astronimical gains, they certainly benefited from the high profile exposure of the ceremony. Birdman, which won Best Picture, earned about $2 million more at the box office 1 week after its Oscar win and is being shown in hundreds of additional theaters around the world. Same goes for Still Alice. There is a tendency for these types of articles to be written every so often. Last year it was written that the Oscar Bump was not visible for nominees, and 2008 was one of the worst years.  2008 was the year of the notorious 80th Academy Awards, which earned the lowest viewership for an Academy Awards telecast or any broadcast since Nielsen Media Research started keeping track of data.

Every year the Oscars is like watching a sporting event. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s the scores, the results, the numbers that seems to define its success as a cultural and commercial institution. The thing is, as much as it is a numbers game, technology has changed the game for the Oscars as it has all industries and aspects of life. As the quote above from the article from M&M Global says, 20th century concepts and strategies don’t work as well anymore. As I wrote in my article the day of the Oscars, social media is playing a larger role influencing audience goers, take American Sniper for example. After it was nominated in January it broke box office records and was the most talked abuot nominee on social media.

Maybe the Oscars doesn’t have the same influence it once had, but if there’s one thing the movie studios still have control over is the trailer. According to Google and Millward-Brown, the trailer is the thing that can make or break it for a movie. Audiences want an experience, and the trailer is the channel for giving them a taste of the experience a film can promise to deliver. Movies are inherently an emotional medium, engaging our imagination and suspending our disbelief. The trailer is the one shot a movie has to make an impression, more powerful than a social media post (depending on the content I suppose).

I wonder what’s next for the movies… virtual reality maybe?

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