Year Oscars Super Bowl
Best Picture Dom Box Office in M $$$a Host Viewers Millions AVG 30 sec ad $M Cost Per Viewer Viewers Millions AVG 30 sec ad $M Cost Per Viewer
2015 Birdman 37.78 Neil Patrick Harris 36.60 1.95 0.053 114.4 4.5 0.039
2014 12 Years A Slave 50.34 Ellen DeGeneres 43.74 1.85 0.042 112.2 4.0 0.036
2013 Argo 129.65 Seth MacFarlane 40.30 1.72 0.043 108.7 3.8 0.035
2012 The Artist 31.78 Billy Crystal 39.34 1.61 0.041 111.3 3.5 0.031
2011 The Kings Speech 114.23 Franco & Hathaway 37.92 1.37 0.036 111.0 3.1 0.028
2010 The Hurt Locker 14.70 Baldwin & Martin 41.70 1.13 0.027 106.5 2.9 0.027
2009 Slumdog Millionaire 98.35 Hugh Jackman 36.31 0.99 0.027 98.7 2.8 0.028
2008 No Cntry 4 Old Men 64.30 Jon Stewart 32.01 1.82 0.057 97.4 2.7 0.028
2007 The Departed 131.81 Ellen DeGeneres 40.17 1.66 0.041 93.1 2.6 0.028
2006 Crash 53.38 Jon Stewart 38.94 1.65 0.042 90.7 2.5 0.028
2005 Million Dollar Baby 64.85 Chris Rock 42.14 1.50 0.036 86.1 2.4 0.028
2004 Lord of the Rings 3 364.12 Billy Crystal 43.53 1.50 0.034 89.8 2.3 0.026
2003 Chicago 134.01 Steve Martin 33.04 1.34 0.041 88.6 2.1 0.024
2002 A Beautiful Mind 154.70 Whoppi Gldbrg 41.78 1.29 0.031 86.8 1.9 0.022
2001 Gladiator 186.87 Steve Martin 42.94 1.45 0.034 84.3 2.1 0.025
2000 American Beauty 108.47 Billy Crystal 46.33 1.30 0.028 88.5 2.2 0.025
1999 Shakespeare in Love 79.19 Whoppi Gldbrg 45.62 1.00 0.022 83.7 1.6 0.019
1998 Titanic 494.57 Billy Crystal 55.25 0.95 0.017 90.0 1.3 0.014
Sources: AP & TV by the Numbers.   a ALL Domestic Box $$ are summed from Date of Open till Oscar Sun of that yr.

Let’s be real, sports fans/Oscars fans. The Oscars are a bloody dud! The Oscars of 1998 did it ALL. A movie (Titanic) with a monstrous domestic box office ($494.6 M) and an equally awesome foreign box of approx $1,148.4 M. (In 2015 $$$$ that is $718.2 M Domestic Box and 1,619.2 M Foreign Box, WOW!) The host in 1998 was the very well-known and liked comedian, Billy Crystal. With or w/o its 11 Oscars, the Titanic was either seen or known by everybody. The end result was an amazing domestic Oscars’ audience of 55¼ M, never duplicated, never approximated! It’s TV audience was over 55% of the SB’s TV audience that yr. Oscars2015’s audience of 36.6 M, with host Neil Patrick Harris was ONLY 32% of SB 2015’s TV audience. ANYQUESTION$? Either THE Academy gave a damn about its audience in 1998 and doesn’t today OR the “stars” (so to speak) were aligned perfectly in 1998 (for the Titanic & its audience) and NOTSOMUCH today??? The Oscars telecast model is broken. THE Academy must fix it and fix it now, NOW!


  • We’ve already stated above that a primary reason of the Oscars’ small audiences is that the nominated flicks are from “nowhere” usually going to “nowhere.” They are “niché” films for a “niché” audience nominated by “niché” Academy Forgetting Am Sniper, the other 7 movies avg’d less than $38 M at the domestic box. THE Academy must change or it will be changed by the audience.
  • The hosts, the presenters, the winners are rarely able to keep the audience engaged. True, Neil Patrick Harrison staged a “brief” appearance late in the show. Last yr “Ellen DeGeneresSamsung Selfie” act was early in the show. It received a lot of social media buzzz. While Mr Harrison was “ripped,” he was hardly worthy of a “tweet”. It may have helped if his “b rief” act had been earlier in the show. May be yes, may be no.
  • The “Political Poop” that inevitably transforms the show into a mini “Inside Politics” (CNN) was spread on stage using the 2015 platform planks of Selma, Immigration (Birdman) & “Women’s Rights” (Thx to supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette [Boyhood]). So much for Hllywd’s Big Night!
  • Finally, the show was boring, boring, boring, boring & too, too, too, too, & too long. It started at 8:30 PM EST and finished at 11:48 PM. UP$URD, UP$URD, UP$URD, UP$URD, & RIDICULOU$!


Of the 58 network ads (nat’l), 18 of them (31%) had movie themes in one way or another. For example, JCP used “Cinderella” in one of its ads; Comcast invited the “Wiz of Oz” into 1 of its Acad ads; Caddy hosted a contest on the making of a short film; Apple used famed director Martin Scorsese to talk about making a movie on an ipad; and even M & Ms “acted” as though they were on the big screen. Now to the 10 biggest Acad Ad $pender$. They were:

  T-2: TOP 10 O$CAR$’ $PENDER$
SN Brands Units Approx Spend SN Brands Units Approx Spend
1 Samsung 10 $19.0 M 6 AMEX 4 $7.6 M
2 Caddy 8 $15.2 M 7 Google $7.6 M
3 JCP 6 $11.4 M 8 Coke/Diet Coke 3 $6.6 M
4 Comcast 5 $9.5 M 9 AT&T 3 $5.7 M
5 MCDS $8.6 M 10 Sprint 3 $5.7 M

Were the Oscars’ ads worthy? Generally speaking, these ads (as most Oscars ads) create very, very little buzzzzz!

  • The biggest buzz from the Oscars’ 2014 audience was that 31% of the viewers said that they were more likely to buy an Oscars’ advertised brand after the show vs ONLY 7% of recent SB viewers claiming the same. (Extreme Research in USA2Day by B Horovitz, 2/19/15).
  • Let’s face it, the Oscars ad platform is less crowded & cluttered than the SB. The target audience for the Oscars is likely to be well incomed white women b/t 15 & 55 who are also well educated and self-considered as being well cultured. (GEO MARKETING sez 61% of Oscars’ viewers are women vs ONLY 46% of SB viewers).
  • McDs appeared for the 24th consecutive yr. Am Exp for 23 straight yr. Rookies Netflix (an obvious choice) and Pet Smart (a curious but welcome 1st timer as it added to ABC’s coffer$. Pls see content detail below). Also, ONLY 43% of Oscars advertisers are returnees (Meg James LA Times, 2/19/15). This % of returnees is a small %.
  • Caddy’s $15 M Oscars spend – “Big Bang 4 its Bucks” or did it “Get Banged by its Big Bucks?” Its ads were creative, obtusive, artsy, NYCsy, often w/o vehicles, culturally clever, very European and definitely targeted to the Oscars’ audience. Would these ads play in the SB, for the NCAA College Ftbll or BB Playoffs, for the Dayton 500 or for the upcoming Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight on May 2nd? RUCRZY? Caddy’s “Dare Greatly” campaign requires great, great PATIENCE and the continued delivery of great, great engineering, design effort & their $$$$$$$. Ellinghaus, current Caddy CMO & former BMW guru, better have the commitment and courage of Alan Turing as he tries to break the Enigma code of the German auto luxury $ucce$$. GOOD LUCK, Sir, GD LCK!!


  • BEST OSCARS’ AD – Xfinity/ComcastEmily’s OZ.” This 60 sec ad is about a 7 yr old blind girl who watches the Wiz of Oz by using Comcast’s “talking guides” service. This ad was better and more uplifting than ANY Oscars’ nominated movie or any show segment (and it was ONLY 60 secs NOT hrs±).
  • 2ND PLACE AD was won by Dove’s 30 sec gem about beauty & body image. Partnering with Twitter, Dove will respond to negative “tweets” about beauty and body image (#SpeakBeautiful program). Dove continues its SBLike a Girl” message. It’s Oscar ad, however, featured NO Dove product/brand name of anything ONLY its message!
  • 3RD PLACE – Pet Smart’s “Partners in Pethood” had by far the most adventurous ads of the night using actress/celeb Anna Farris as she threw a b-day party for her dog, Stanley. The message from Pet Smart is about returning the love and joy that our pets give us! AMEN!! AMEN!!! AMEN!!!!


The end is in sight for THE Academy and its niché night. The world of flicks is door knocking. The Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and The Life of Pi (2013) WILL NO longer be foreign anomalies but rather they will be part of the world’s great films as China, India etc enter the global age and the global stage. If THE Academy doesn’t throw its door “wide open”, these movies & those that follow, their home countries and their potential 2.4/2.5 B movie goers will knock that damn door down and use THE Academy as a walking ramp! AMEN! ANYQUESTIONS?!

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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