Silly Oscar Awards Deliver High Engagement

Maybe awards shows like the Oscars need more drama, more indecision about who won what awards -- and especially more live backstage cameras of accountants taking selfies with big movie stars.

The end of the show’s now-famous miscue -- announcing the incorrect movie as the best picture of year --- was some of the best TV I’ve seen in a long time. Nothing was predictable, here -- and thus, great TV. Talk about an engaged viewer!

Frantic award-show producers took the stage telling a big audience of TV viewers, everything was all wrong. They showed the actual card inside the envelope to verify that “Moonlight” got the best picture award.

But as compared to most of the world dramatic stories at the moment,  this is small potatoes.

Were there any injuries involved in fighting over Oscar trophies? Was a call to EMS needed? Did anyone need to go to the hospital because a panic attack during those two and a half minutes when things were chaotic?



Ah.. no.

Remember this is about giving out heavy hardware to actors, producers, and directors most of whom are rich — and are picking up plenty of other awards.

Why have industry followers been so serious about a mistake by a senior executive of PwC, the company formerly known as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, in giving out wrong envelope? 

We know the the actual “accounting” of the voting was accurate. The delivery of that information? That’s something else.

Brian Cullinan, chairman of PwC's US Board and Managing Partner of PwC's Southern California, Arizona & Nevada, was distracted -- tweeting backstage during the show, including a photo of Best Actress winner Emma Stone that he posted minutes before handing the wrong envelope to presenter Warren Beatty.

Reports suggest PwC executives initially thought it was Beatty, who made the announcement, who was to blame. Here, he was just an actor, a performer -- reading what he was told to read. (He was given a wrong, duplicate envelope announcing Best Actress.) Why he didn't share that knowledge is anyone's guess.

From all this, if you are a TV advertiser who bought a couple of high-priced Oscar 30-second commercials for around $2.1 million a piece, you should buy even more next year. Expect higher level of viewer engagement in 2018.

And perhaps some marketers are already thinking about the effects of this.

International or a shrug-of-shoulders coincidence, after a Monday morning NPR "Marketplace" Oscar story — the day after the Oscar event —  there was... wait for it... a Deloitte sponsored message!

The race for Best Supporting Accounting Firm has arrived.

Overall, Hollywood takes itself way too seriously.

David Letterman knew that when he did his one turn as the host of the event in 1995. But Letterman’s wise-guy remarks -- needling actors just a little too much, just like on his late-night show -- was, for many, out of place in the mostly solemn nature of giving out movie hardware.

He didn’t suck up. And yes, many were uncomfortable. I love Jimmy Kimmel, and think he did a great job the other night.

But imagine if Letterman hosted -- especially at the end.  That would been made things even more crazy. Winning envelopes for everyone!

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