Are the Oscars Worth Watching Just for the Commercials?

Unlike the Oscars' sporting event counterpart, the Super Bowl, you probably aren't that interested in the commercials, but should you be?

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Unlike the Super Bowl for straight guys, the Oscars has not traditionally offered commercial alternatives for those bored by fashion, celebrities, movies, and interminable song-and-dance numbers. But if advertisers have their way, that will all change. While ad time during the Oscars still isn't as pricey as that for the Super Bowl—$1.65 million to $1.8 million for 30 seconds compared to $3.8 million to $4 million — Stuart Elliott explains in the New York Times, "a recent trend of advertisers treating the Oscars like the Super Bowl — as a platform for prominent new ads that consumers will rave (or rant) about on social media like Facebook and Twitter — seems to be intensifying." Chobani, for instance, is beginning its campaign with the theme "go real." (Update, Friday: You can see the Chobani spots now, too.) J.C. Penney, which has done well at the Oscars in the past, will also give us something new. Neutrogena will feature an ad narrated by Jennifer Garner, whose husband Ben Affleck's movie Argo might take the night's top prize. Though the Internet has not flooded with teasers and trailers for all Oscar ads as was the case for the Super Bowl, we do have a sense of what some big companies are planning.

Grey Poupon 

The dijon mustard brand is hoping to play on Oscar viewers' nostalgia, by reviving their classic 1980s ad where two men riding in chauffeured cars exchange Grey Poupon. To jog your memory, here's the original:

A trailer for the new ad (yes, they make trailers for TV commercials now) aims to show what happened after that civil exchange and puts the Poupon-sharers at odds in a battle for the mustard.


Per a release, Hyundai will air nine ads during both the pre-show and the Oscars themselves, and will debut three new ads which have already been released online. Each ad plays on Hollywood tropes like movie trailers, paparazzi, and pitch meetings. They also feature the voice of Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges:

Diet Coke

Diet Coke's contribution might add a bit of beefcake to the proceedings. Stuart Elliott at the Times reports:

“Consumers expect advertisers to come to the Oscars with their A-game,” said Andy McMillin, vice president for Coca-Cola trademark brands at the Coca-Cola North America Group, part of the Coca-Cola Company. For the Diet Coke brand, Mr. McMillin will introduce an American version of a commercial that has generated considerable attention since it was introduced in Europe last month.

That's part of a long running series featuring the "Diet Coke hunk." Elliott linked to the European ad (embedded below) for Coca-Cola Light, which is essentially the same as this already viral ad for Diet Coke

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