A few days ago, Anomaly debuted the first spot in its Kohl's Oscars campaign, which took a snippet of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s 1997 acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor … and put it in the mouth of a dad who just won the pick of movie night.
On Sunday night, we got to see the other three ads that accompany that one, featuring other acceptance speeches in less sparkly contexts.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted this," says a beaming little girl whose brother's just gifted her the front seat in the car. "You don't know. My brother's sittin' there, he says, 'Thank God we don't have to listen to any more. You can do it now.' "
Recognize that voice? That's Whoopi Goldberg in 1990, accepting her Best Supporting Actress award for Ghost.
In another spot, an ecstatic boy channels Jeff Bridges (taking Best Actor for Crazy Heart in 2009) to thank his mom and dad for letting his buddy Scott sleep over. "Whoo!" he cries exuberantly—an epic moment in this kid's lip-dub career. "I wanna, I wanna thank Scott for his knowledge of film and country music and for his ability to instill self-confidence in his actors. I thank you for that. Scott, where are you? Raise your hand, man."
A less-than-thrilled Scott appears stage left, waving awkwardly to the parents from under his make-believe Darth Vader helmet. The woodenness of this kid's body deserves an award on its own, especially as the bow-out music starts to roll.
Lastly, a girl in a fort made of bedsheets invites her mother in to play "the duchess" for tea, triggering Penelope Cruz's Best Supporting Actress speech for Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2009.
"Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one," Mom breathes. Her speech ends in a string of Spanish, resulting in perfectly timed looks of surprise from the rest of her (Asian) family.
The work, engineered to focus on the "universal feeling of gratitude" in big moments as well as everyday ones, is nostalgic and cute enough to build a safe amount of goodwill to justify its investment. This is Kohl's first time as an Oscars sponsor.
And while the campaign has precious little to do with the brand itself—unless you count wardrobe—this positioning was particularly timely because of the Oscars' decision to install a thank-you ticker under acceptance speeches, giving actors the chance to use their moments of glory to talk about other stuff.
It's the ticker's first year, and despite some light buzz, it didn't change speeches much; gratitude still feels better when it's actually said, versus scrolled along the bottom of your podium. But in one long-anticipated moment last night, Leonardo DiCaprio—who finally scored!—managed to cut his thank-yous short to plug climate change awareness.
In future years, the ticker's inclusion might drive other actors to focus on socially important messages, which will give thank-yous to Mom and Dad an even stronger nostalgic time stamp. It'll be interesting to see how Kohl's addresses that if it sponsors the Oscars next year.
Below, check out Kohl's first ad featuring the voice of Cuba Gooding Jr.