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And the winners are…

There are only two really big changes to this year’s advertisers during the Oscars ceremony, and guess what? Both are drinks brands.

There are only two really big changes to this year’s advertisers during the Oscars ceremony, and guess what? Both are drinks brands.

SABMiller have replaced Anheuser-Busch for the telecast on the US network ABC this Sunday, and will be using their first appearance during the Academy Awards to give Miller Genuine Draft a more sophisticated image. Coca-Cola replace Pepsi-Cola, returning to the Oscars after seven years, promoting two new products as well as a new brand-loyalty website.

The Oscars are known for providing an upscale audience, consisting of more women than men, and the awards are particularly interesting this year, as there is a predominance of art-house, ‘message’ films among those nominated. This may have an effect on the quality and quantity of viewers.

ABC gives first choice for the premium airtime to advertisers from the previous year, implying that Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch have both chosen not to participate this year.

The advertising space costs in the region of US$1.7m for 30 seconds. In addition, ABC is quite strict about the content it allows during Oscar advertising, and has apparently asked some advertisers to change their adverts.

The Miller adverts feature the slogan "Beer. Grown Up," embodying the image that the beer brand intends to project. SABMiller is attempting to target a more sophisticated, slightly older market, something that the non-mainstream content of this year’s Oscars may help them to do.

Speaking to the New York Times, Erv Frederick, a SABMiller executive said that the adverts were "about coming of age, appreciating the finer things ­ getting away from the typical slapstick beer ads." Coca-Cola will use the time to promote Diet Coke, as well as two new products, Coca-Cola Blak and Tab Energy. Diet Coke will get new packaging in time for the awards. The company has also advertised its recently launched reward site, where consumers can claim various products, some of them Oscar related. Coca-Cola will not be running a corresponding Academy Award advertising campaign in the UK.

Advertisers that will return to the Academy Awards this year include McDonald’s, MasterCard, JCPenney and General Motors. Kodak continues their involvement, which has been the case since the Oscars began.

In Canada, Toyota will apparently make history during the award ceremony with a two-minute short film for the new Toyota Camry. Oscar-nominated Dante Spinotti is the director of photography for the short film, which will be broadcast on Canadian network CTV.

db  March 2006

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