As Academy Awards season descends on Hollywood like a plague of locusts in a C.B. DeMille religious epic, Angelinos will again be subject to one of the oddest mass-media marketing phenomena: local television and radio (local meaning, in this case, reaching 10 million people in Los Angeles County alone) designed to speak to the 5,800 or so voting members of the Academy. In recent years, this trade advertising has extended beyond The Hollywood Reporter and Variety and become more prominent and obvious to all. To overcome Academnesia, studios will release ads for movies no longer even in theaters to promote this director or that actor. In the past, radio spots have featured sound from nominated scores, with snippets of interviews by the composer. For the next month, rather than featuring a current release for its overall appeal, commercials will laud a single performance—conspicuously, that of a nominee. These ads don’t run across the nation, or even necessarily in New York, where at least some Academy members still reside. The campaigns are made to flatter Academy voters with big studio spend—a squandering of media resources made necessary because the Academy discourages direct marketing to its members. Of course, in order to be effective, that means Oscar-solicitous advertising pours money into lefty media, a badly needed boon for Air America.
—Posted by Gregory Solman