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Oscar Telecast Commercials Sold Out, Disney Advertising Says

Oscar Disney Advertising


Commercials for the 93d annual Oscars telecast on Sunday are sold out, according to Disney Advertising Sales.

Behind the Super Bowl, the Oscars have historically one of the highest profile programs on TV and among the most attractive for advertisers.

According to Kantar, last year’s Academy Awards show drew $129 million in ad revenue, up from $114 million in 2019.  The Red Carpet pre-show generated another $21 million in 2020, up front $2 million the previous year.

The average 30-second spot during the awards show cost $2.15 million, up 9%.

But broadcast TV in general has been losing audiences in general and award show ratings have been getting smaller and smaller, despite the appeal of live events.

Last year’s Oscars--which aired before the start of the pandemic--drew a record-low audience of 23.6 million viewers. The Golden Globes, which aired Feb. 28 saw ratings drop more than 60% to 6.9 million on NBC.

Jerry Daniello, senior VP, Entertainment Brand Solutions at Disney Ad Sales said that trend hasn’t affected the allure of the Oscars.

“The advertisers and the brands that have been showing up every year continue to show up to launch new creative and use the Oscar platform for the reach and for the prestige and to be in that environment,” Daniello said. 

“A  lot of new brands have shown up in the Oscars for the first time and they're coming to the table with plenty of original creative that will launch on Sunday that's timely and relevant and inclusive. The rating projections are not necessarily affecting how clients are buying the Oscars, he added.

Audiences may have lost some interest in Hollywood during a year in which most people streamed even new films at home.

After a year in which theaters were largely empty, Disney has come up with a new format to promote new theatrical releases. 

In this year’s Oscars three celebrities from upcoming films will talk about their favorite movie theater experience and introduce their new film, which will lead into an exclusive, never before seen trailer. In past years, a separation was required between someone appearing in the broadcast and appearing in a commercial.

The three people featured are  Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita in the new version of West Side Story, drummer Questlove, who directed the upcoming documentary Summer of Soul, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will appear in the movie version of his play In the Heights.

This year’s Oscar broadcast is three months later than last years, and Daniello said the extra time enabled Disney to secure these moments in the production.

Daniello said some of this year’s Oscar advertisers, like Target, which came in at the last minute, have done well during the pandemic. Others, like Expedia, are hoping to use the Oscars to get back to business as usual.

Sponsors of this year’s Oscars include Google, General Motors, Rolex and Verizon in the “proud” category.

Google is sponsoring audio descriptions of the telecast for the visually impaired for the first time. Closed captioning will be provided by VITAC, and the audio description will be provided by VITAC and Audio Eyes.

“Google is committed to making the world a more accessible place by working to ensure disabled people are represented in the stories we tell and the products we build,” says KR Liu, head of brand accessibility. “We are excited to do our part in making this year’s Oscars accessible for everyone by helping to make audio descriptions and captions available for viewers.”

During the show, Google will also run an ad that features the story of Google employee Tony Lee, a child of deaf parents, also called a CODA. The spot explores how his family communicates today with the help of Google products including Live Transcribe, Captions in Google Meet & Live Caption on Android and Chrome.

GM’s Cadillac is introducing its first electric crossover vehicle, the Lyric.

AARP; Accenture; Adidas International; Airbnb;; Apple; Corona; Disney Plus; Eli Lilly; Expedia; FreshPet; FX; Grey Goose (Bacardi); GSK; Honda; Kellogg; Keurig (Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar); Mars; P&G; Panera; Power to the Patient; Searchlight;  Starbucks, Subway; Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers as participating sponsors.

Disney also has local sponsors for the Oscars, including Mercedes-Benz, Resorts World, Spectrum and Virgin Hotels.

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.