realtime marketing at the oscars

Brands Lacked Real-Time Marketing at the Oscars

See how more brands could have responded rapidly to the Oscars mix-up using real-time marketing strategies that prepare marketers for the unexpected.

“No, there’s a mistake! Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture. I’m not joking. This is not a joke. Moonlight, you won Best Picture.”

This moment during the Best Picture announcement at the recent Academy Awards stunned the world. The only thing as unexpected was the lack of brands that immediately capitalized on the conversation. Previous years showed that clever or emotional real-time marketing responses can impact conversations surrounding these live TV events. However, there was a deafening silence from brands after what might be the most talked about Oscars moment for years to come.

Real-time marketing can be a powerful tool in creating a human connection with your audiences. It satisfies their need for immediacy, deepens existing customer relationships, and can even expand your brand into a new audience’s consideration set. In the past, companies have shown they’re more than willing to be clever with an immediate response to headlining news. Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet in response to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout is one of the most notable examples. But few were prepared for the Best Picture announcement jumble that had news outlets scrambling and prompted a lot of conversation on social media.

This lack of timely response illustrates how far real-time marketing has to go, despite positive examples in the past. Marketers must be ready for these moments in advance on multiple fronts in order to capitalize on them. The following are some of the elements they need in place:

Real-Time Responses Need Preparation and Fast Action

Brands should prepare for any real-time reaction marketing opportunities well before they can even guess what they might be. Live TV events might not draw as strong of ratings as they used to, but teams can prioritize which events to prepare for based on who they think will be watching.

During these events, some teams form a social media “war room” where they monitor and strategize to make critical decisions on-the-fly. With PR, digital marketing, and creative teams in the same place at the same time, they can quickly establish a number of variables – including which audiences to tailor messaging and content to, as well as the goals associated with a real-time response. Teams should be willing to think outside the box in terms of audience, too, since many live TV events like the Oscars create moments with cross-cultural appeal.

By agreeing on unknowns – such as what tone the creative should take, who’ll be targeted, and which social channel(s) to push their content – there is less scrambling to figure out how to get real-time marketing out the door.

Although we didn’t see many brands react to the Best Picture mix-up, some candy companies were ready on-the-spot to respond to their unexpected inclusion in the show. In an unpaid placement, Jimmy Kimmel had brand name candies parachute from the rafters of the Kodak Theatre, while many advertisers were said to have paid $2 million for a 30-second spot during the Oscar’s. Given the opportunity to shine, it seems some brands were prepared to deliver a rapid response, while others were not as equipped to capitalize on the occasion.

Listen to Conversations to Weigh Creative Options

Real-time marketing challenges social teams to develop creative on-the-fly for their branded pages, but they can actually have pre-approved options ready to help guide their decision-making process. While no one can predict the future, listening to current conversations can provide immediate audience insights that help you know which jokes or responses might land better.

One noteworthy example is an Oscar-related tweet from M. Night Shyamalan. While the director has many Twitter posts with triple-digit likes, his joke “I wrote the ending of the academy awards 2017” got over 109k likes because it was both timely and logical given the director’s reputation for twist endings.

Sure, few marketers could have had this sort of idea in place given how unexpected the mix-up was, but having templates and imagery ready prepares your team mentally for last-minute changes since more variables are being considered in advance.

Get Executive Buy-In

Red tape is one of the biggest barriers to marketing teams reacting in real-time because approval is typically a long, slow process. Stakeholders always need their say, but having a pre-established approval process for real-time reaction marketing can speed up the final rollout.

Because timing is vital in these types of responses, the more comfortable your decision-makers are with making split second decisions and taking moderate amounts of risk, the more likely it is that your brand can be there at the perfect moment when opportunity and preparation align.

Brands always need to plan for the future, but the present moment can offer many opportunities for real-time marketing and creating a human connection with your audience. When you prepare content options ahead of time, leverage social conversations to determine a response that will resonate, and reduce the tangle of red tape needed for approval – you will be ready for the next big live TV event.

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