It’s Oscars time again. This year the biggest Hollywood awards ceremony has successfully sold out the advertising inventory, thanks to a lack of controversy leading up to the big night. The usual complaints of the nominees being too white and male is present this year but at least there isn’t a scandal over the choice of host – there is no host.
Not only did the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences take the easy way out and just eliminate a host, but it is also continuing down the safe path in making decisions on advertisers during the ceremony. It’s Hollywood’s biggest night, you know, and they are hoping that millions of movie lovers will tune in to see who won the awards. Last year’s ceremony drew an audience of 29.6 million viewers but recent years have shown shrinking numbers. The number of viewers topped 40 million in 2014 and has slid downwards ever since.
There is controversy in the selection of ads this year – or more accurately, an ad that was rejected. A company called Frida Mom made a 60-second ad for their line of postpartum products for new moms. The ad is graphic in nature, though, and it is easy to see why the committee rejected it. The graphic part is that a new mom is shown using the bathroom. Though only part of her belly is exposed, she goes through a routine to comfortably do what she needs to do. Each step is shown and it’s a lot.
If you want to see the ad, you can do that HERE.
The ad isn’t embedded here because I don’t imagine that most of the male readers are interested in seeing it. I think this is the conclusion that the Oscars committee came to, too, and took a pass on it. Frankly, a lot of women would be squeamish about watching it, too. It is really not appropriate for the Oscars audience. It has a natural audience on female-oriented networks. That is not a sexist opinion, it’s reality.
The woke crowd in Hollywood has been weighing in on social media, as they do. Everything is sexist and they are here to fight the patriarchy. For example, actress and activist Busy Philipps posted the ad on her Instagram account and delivered her hot take. Elizabeth Banks gave her a high five in response.
“I legit teared up when I just watched it,” she wrote on Instagram. “I DO believe so strongly that the more we can NORMALIZE A WOMAN’S BODILY EXPERIENCE IN MEDIA, the better off our culture and society will be. AND YES THAT MEANS ADS TOO.”
Philipps called out double standards on-air, noting that many viewers “probably don’t even flinch when an Erectile Disfunction ad comes on but THIS AD IS REJECTED?!”
“I think this is an incredible piece of advertising that accurately represents something millions of women know intimately,” she added. “And I’m so (expletive) sick of living in a society where the act of simply BEING A WOMAN is rejected by the gatekeepers of media. Well. Shame on them and NOT on us for simply being human women.”
Elizabeth Banks added, “Bravo Busy.”
Here’s the problem with Busy’s argument – an ad about erectile dysfunction doesn’t include such graphic scenes. Men aren’t shown sitting on toilets and they are fully clothed, except for that one where the man and woman are in side-by-side bathtubs but the viewer doesn’t see his body. This isn’t a problem because of sexism. It’s a problem because of the audience in general.
The Oscars are supposed to be a fancy affair. Everyone is dressed in formalwear and bejeweled. The ads reflect that, for the most part. This year four “proud sponsors” each have category exclusivity during the Oscars – Google, Verizon, Rolex, and Cadillac. The broadcast will air on ABC, a broadcast network, not a cable channel. The audience will be everyone from senior citizens to elementary school kids.
Every broadcast has guidelines. While the woke among us think this ad should be seen by anyone and everyone, it falls into the category of there’s a place and a time for everything. The Oscars isn’t that for this ad. Call me old and out-of-touch. The Hollywood movers and shakers who made this decision will no doubt receive blowback by our betters who have evolved past worrying about others’ reactions, but they know that theirs is the right decision.
The products, by the way, look useful. The company probably does well if they can afford to advertise during the Oscars, given how much advertising time costs during the Oscars. Thirty-second spots are going for up to $2.8 million. There was no such company advertising their goods to help postpartum women during the days after I gave birth to my now grown adult son. It’s painful and it’s disgusting if I’m to be honest here. I fully support any help today’s moms can get.
In contrast to all this, M&M’s is advertising during this year’s ceremony after taking a break for the last five years. The ads promise to be innovative with the appearance that the M&M characters are taking part in the evening’s festivities, both on the pre-Oscars red carpet broadcast and during the awards show.
“We’re developing creative with M&M’s and with the Academy to feel as if M&M’s is reacting in real-time to what’s happening in the awards,” said Jerry Daniello, senior VP of entertainment brand solutions at Disney Advertising Sales.
The push by the Mars Wrigley brand is the latest example of an advertiser looking for a way to stand out during an event with a large audience that is expected to watch live. Last year, nearly 30 million Americans tuned into the Academy Awards.
The campaign highlights the limited-edition “messages” packaging M&M’s began rolling out to stores in late January featuring comments meant to be from the spokescandies. Ahead of the 92nd Academy Awards, M&M’s sold 92 kits online meant to be used while watching the show. The boxes, which featured an applause noise when opened, included 12 packs of M&M’s and a red carpet-like table runner to use during an Oscars party.
All six of the spokescandies, which go by names based on their colors, such as Mrs. Green, will be featured in the animated spots, Miazga-Bedrick said. M&M’s will also play off of the ideas in the commercials on Twitter during the broadcast and plans to replay some of the spots on YouTube during its digital push after the Oscars. But Sunday night is the only time the ads are set to run on TV.
— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) February 7, 2020
The ad by Frida Mom isn’t appropriate for the Oscars. It’s ok to say that. A person sitting on the toilet doesn’t fit in. This event won’t be the opening of Shameless, you know. Time and place.