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Will Oscar ads follow the Super Bowl's lead and go political?

A screenshot from Cadillac's 2017 Oscar commercial.
A screenshot from Cadillac's 2017 Oscar commercial.

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You’ve heard of watching the Super Bowl for its commercials, but how about the Oscars?

The Academy Awards don’t offer advertisers nearly the number of viewers that football’s biggest night draws in, but it’s still a huge national platform.

ABC announced a week ago that it had sold all its ad space for Sunday night’s broadcast. And those 30-second slots aren't cheap.

Nat Ives, executive editor at AdAge, says ads for the Oscars went for $2 million to $2.5 million. That's compared to an average of $5 million for this year's Super Bowl.

Taking a page from Super Bowl advertisers, some of this year's Oscars advertisers have released their commercials early. And like some of the ads from the Super Bowl this year, a few Oscar commercials will be political.

Cadillac, the luxury car company, has released an ad that touches on politics while avoiding being partisan. Ives describes their strategy as the "let's just all hug this out and everything's going to be okay approach." 

The New York Times has also purchased ad time for the Oscars broadcast, and it's going a bit political as well. Their ad will be the company's first television commercial since 2010. 

With the Oscars' slightly more liberal-skewing audience, Ives says, "this is a chance for [the Times] to tell the Oscars audience that they're going to bring them the truth if only they'll sign up and support it."

When it comes to the high likelihood that many of the Oscar acceptance speeches will involve some mention of politics, Ives says, there will be some concern on the part of advertisers that viewers will decide to tune out.

"There's always the chance that's going to happen," Ives says. But "it's not going to be a small broadcast no matter what. It's never going to turn into a blowout where everyone's going to be watching something else instead."


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