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Gaming Oscar Night Buzz

Big cultural events with huge audiences whip brands and agencies into frenzy. This year’s 86th Academy Awards should be no different. Last year’s four-hour marathon offered marketers a tempting 40 million viewers on TV, almost nine million Tweets and a 200% increase in social media posts from the year before. 

When Oreo claimed social victory in the 2013 Super Bowl’s power outage, they didn’t even try to repeat this year.  Now social media experts wonder if you can even benefit from joining the water cooler in real time at all. So the question is, can your brand create an Oscar-worthy performance on your social channels?  We think so, following these guidelines. 

Four lessons on real-time social marketing for Oscar night

1. Is there any other major event where less happens? 

This is a social TV dream come true. Unlimited time, long commercial breaks and lots of categories few are passionate about. Add the pre-game red-carpet specials and you’ve got 4+ hours where, truthfully, not a lot really happens. That gives your team plenty of time to talk about the fashions, comment on speeches and have fun. 

You can reenact major events of the night using your product, the way M&M’s did using their candy during the Super Bowl 2014 with the creation of this Vine.  

Or you can use the time as Denny’s did during the big game this year. They used a hilarious hashtag, #supertroll, and live-tweeted items from QVC instead of talking about the game.

These examples are perfect for brands wanting to jump into Instagram and Vine – using 6- to 15-second videos to tell engaging stories for current fans.  

2. What to do when wardrobes malfunction and actresses tumble. 

The key here is to understand that other brands are trying to capitalize on the same gaffes and moments. So you need to find the moment that allows your brand to shine. When Jennifer Lawrence won for Best Actress last year, 71,600 tweets happened. Most of those were about her falling on the stairs. 

There are three ways to capitalize on these unscripted moments. One, be faster than everyone else. Two, keep it within your branded channels, if you have a handy person on your team who can turn these moments into lightning-fast-animated GIFs. And three, if you want to go for broke, start new channels for key moments. 

Last year there were new channels for Anne Hathaway’s nipples, and in 2012 Angelina Jolie’s right leg had multiple accounts and over 15,000 followers, to say nothing of the sites talking about the “legbombing” meme. And let’s not forget that during the Sochi Games, prankster tweeter @sochiproblems racked up 341,000 followers during this year’s Olympic Games. 

3. When unexpected winners emerge.

Truthfully, there are very few surprises during the Oscars – although even ESPN prognosticator Nate Silver was only able to go 4-2 in guessing the top categories last year. 

Since most of the winners and losers are actors, it’s hard to tell from their facial expressions who’s surprised and who’s not when that envelope is opened. If something – anything – seems the least bit out of the ordinary, social media lighting can strike. Imagine if social media existed in 1977 when “Rocky” won Best Picture over “All the Presidents Men,” “Network” and “Taxi Driver.” The animated GIFs would be flying with “Aaadriiaannns!”

4. Jump on the bandwagon when the sentimental favorites win.

Respect, delivered plain and simple, is the key to capitalizing on great stories. If Matthew McConaughey wins, expect an immediate glut of “All right, all right, all right,” and a virtual gold rush of dude-related Wooderson comments and posts. People love underdogs, especially those who have solidly honed their craft after years of romantic comedies, flopped action films and exotic male dancer movies. Or imagine what you can do if 84-year-old supporting actress nominee June Squibb wins? You can start to see how brands could easily jump into the conversation simply by authentically celebrating good stories that people love. 

Bottom line, it’s never too soon to start planning gaming scenarios on what might happen on Oscar night. The key is to be prepared with content to deploy rapidly, and capitalize on every story, flub and fall.

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