In Branding & Identity, Marketing & Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Social Media

1) Get your product in the hands of influencers

Kudos to Lego. First of all, The Lego Movie was one long amazing commercial for the experience of playing with Legos. Shot in the style of the vast number of popular Lego YouTube videos, the movie brought to life a variety of features of the product. Even more importantly it captured the fun of the experience of playing with it. At the awards, Lego put their product, in the form of golden Lego Oscar statuettes, in the hands of the world’s most famous stars. These are people who all of us don’t just like, we aspire to be like, so when we see them with a Lego statuette we can imagine holding one ourselves.

For those of us who aren’t global brands, we can selectively trigger the same connection by sharing our products with influencers who matter to our target demographic, for instance, a blogger who covers your industry. By the way, Lego won the brand Twitter competition getting mentioned over 47,000 times!

2) Make your message authentic

Make it real. Your consumers are humans, and we all respond to each other’s humanity; this builds trust. These Oscar moments stirred emotion in viewers around the world:

  • Graham Moore, the writer of The Imitation Game, telling kids out there who feel weird or different that they’re not alone
  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 documentary short subject winner Dana Perry dedicating her win to her son who committed suicide at age 15, and saying that suicide should be talked about “out loud” so that people can do more to prevent it
  • These people are talented artists, but they are also brands, and genuinely sharing their emotions with their audience deepens their relationship with them. Authenticity matters to people, particularly millenials. Ryan Scott of Causecast points out that “90% of consumers will switch brands to one that supports a cause.” Share the causes your company supports – what you care about your consumers may care about too, and that’s authentic to your brand.

3) Be aspirational but not unreachable

Apple and Android both ran pretty ads during the Oscars, but they were aspirational to the point of being out of touch. Sure we might shoot video with an iPad or the Samsung ecosystem but most people don’t use a multitude of shooting locations or a jib arm for theirs! Because the moments were so fantastical the points of differentiation were lost and the brands tied in a happy cloudy of vagueness.

4) Don’t let your hype write checks that your product can’t cash

In the precious budget of time for the ceremony, the least successful bit was host Neil Patrick Harris talking repeatedly about his Oscar predictions locked in a box onstage, and then reading them at the end.

Social media was abuzz with people waiting for the payoff, and they were overwhelmingly let down; the gag made most “worst moments at the Oscars” lists. In marketing, we have to be careful not to oversell what we can’t deliver.

5) To change people’s impression of your brand, do it with a splash

Lady Gaga is known for her edgy pop songs and outrageous performances, so the Oscars audience was floored when she came onstage in a beautiful white dress and proceeded with a stunning performance of songs from The Sound of Music. Her fans have always known she was a talented singer, and now so does the rest of the world after she grabbed our attention by reversing our expectations of her style and personality. Most importantly, her unconventionally conventional take on a standard mix of songs was right on brand!

I wrote in my last blog that last year’s Oscar brand winner was high tech (Samsung + Twitter), and this year’s winner is low tech (Lego) so clearly it is more about how you use the tool than the tool you use.

What marketing tips did you take away from this year’s Oscars?

If you want to learn more about how to make your marketing impactful any day of the year, not just on the Oscars, visit us at

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