As for me, I was searching away, seeing how marketers and publishers were capitalizing on the Academy Awards. Below is an excerpted recap of the night, reported in full on my blog.
8:45 p.m. (all times EST) "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" wins Best Costume. A Google search for "Elizabeth" brings up an ad for Liz Claiborne clothing. A minute later on TV, a MyCokeRewards commercial mentions something about a partnership to combat heart disease, but MyCokeRewards.com has nothing clearly visible on the site referring to it.
8:55 p.m. "Ratatouille" wins best animated film. Searching Google for the movie leads to an ad from JuliasBraShop.com for lingerie. Whether I'm searching for the movie or the dish, I'm wondering how that one's relevant.
9:18 p.m. Best Supporting Actor winner: Javier Bardem. Moviefone's the lone advertiser in Google for the actor's name. Fancast advertises in Yahoo. As for the movie title, No Country for Old Men (without quotes), Blockbuster, Amazon, YellowPages and Netflix advertise on Yahoo, and Yahoo has a great featured info box above the natural search results with ratings and local showtimes. It does mean the top three links (the official site, IMDB, Wikipedia) get pushed further down, and everything else quickly disappears into no-man's land.
9:21 p.m. Dove encourages people to vote on the two ad finalists at Oscar.com -- a huge win for Oscar.com and Dove. People can also text in the vote choice by just texting A or B to the short code, making it really easy. At DoveCreamOil.com (hosted on MSN), there's a link to Oscar.com for the voting. And at Oscar.com, it is very clear where and how to vote. Mercifully, registration was not required.
9:35 p.m. As of now, there's nothing on Wikipedia about Jon Stewart's performance tonight other than the mention that he's hosting the awards.
9:44 p.m. I just ran a search for "Dove," and Dove is well placed in the natural results in Google but doesn't advertise at all, which is a missed opportunity tonight. Strangely, there's an ad for Chemistdirect.co.uk mentioning "next day UK delivery."
10:01 p.m. There's a TV spot for the new show "Oprah's Big Give." A search in Google shows Oprah.com ranking first, topped by an ad from ABC.com specifically about the program. Bravo.
10:12 p.m. Best Actress goes to... Marion Cotillard, an actress no one's heard of with a name no one can pronounce playing a singer whose name I can never remember (Google had to correct me on the spelling of the actress' name). Google has no ads for her -- go figure.
10:44 p.m. "The Counterfeiters" is the first Austrian movie to win best foreign film. For "counterfeiters," Moviefone advertises in Google. On Yahoo, there's Amazon advertising, followed by Dealtime. The Dealtime ad's subject reads "Counterfeiters," and then the body is, "Millions of Products from Thousands of Stores All in One Place." Just what kinds of deals does DealTime specialize in? More fun: at Ask.com, a search on "counterfeiters" has recommendations to expand your search with FBI or CIA.
10:52 p.m. "Once" wins for Best Song. Not only was it a great picture with moving music, but the trio from "Enchanted" had to be three of the worst songs ever nominated. In Google, FoxStore.com advertises for "once," mentioning the "award-winning Irish musical," clearly a catch-all for a movie that already won awards, but fitting and timely given that people searching for it now will make the Oscar connection.
11:25 p.m. What's up with Harrison Ford's earring? Searching for info, apparently some think it's http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/fords%20earring%20crisis tied to a mid-life crisis. That just shows you how much a man this guy is, putting off his midlife crisis until he's in his '60s.
By the way, seeing the Dove ad a few minutes ago, the one that won the voting, was strangely satisfying. It's just a great media execution. I'd love to dive more into the psychological reactions to it. For instance, compare the reactions of those who didn't vote, those who voted for the winning ad, and those who voted for the loser. How are all affected? For the record, I voted for the winner, so maybe I'm predisposed to favoring it.
11:44 p.m. The Coen Brothers predictably win Best Director. Surprisingly, a local ad is the sole ad to appear on Google, with almonstanevening.com promoting a short off-Broadway play from Ethan Coen.
11:46 p.m. And the winner is... "No Country for Old Men." No ads on Google. At Yahoo: Blockbuster, Amazon, Netflix, and YellowPages advertise (though again, the best real estate goes to the Yahoo Movies roundup). At Live.com, Amazon and YellowPages.com advertise. At Ask.com, there's the local ad again for almostanevening.com.
The biggest marketing winner for the night is Dove, with its great use of multichannel marketing. To the rest of the marketers, there's always next year.