TBWA\C\D Plans ‘Disruptive’ Oscar Push

LOS ANGELES Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, hired last week to promote the Academy Awards telecast next February, has promised a “disruptive” campaign from Spike Lee, who has been signed to direct the TV effort, said Carisa Bianchi, agency president.

Beth Harris, director of marketing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, said the commercials would also represent the first campaign promoting the telecast to come entirely from a traditional ad agency.

The concept for the Lee campaign came from Jack Fund and Rob Schwartz, creative director and executive creative director, respectively, at the Playa del Rey, Calif., agency.

“The Oscars are one of the great, iconic brands,” said Bianchi. “It really fit our DNA as an agency and the kind of prospects we want to work with. We pitched a ‘disruptive’ idea. We’re going to try to create buzz.”

Bianchi would not elaborate, and Lee declined comment.

Harris said the upcoming campaign would involve “unique media opportunities” including mobile, interactive and Internet advertising. “The campaign will be very different than anything we’ve done for several years,” she said. “For instance, it will contain no show footage from previous years. It is conceptual and aspirational, about how film bonds us together and how pervasive it is in our lives.”

Marketing the Oscar telecast “has evolved over the years, but in the last three or four we’ve wanted to expand the efforts and start looking off the ABC network—at outdoor [advertising], for example,” Harris said.

Past Oscar campaigns were created “mostly in-house” and often focused on the gala’s host. “That was a challenge because that always [was disclosed] too late, especially for the number of stations that carry the telecast,” said Harris. “So we’ve gotten more sophisticated in the things we want to do.”

Telecast producer Laura Ziskin is considering in-show branding, and the academy is evaluating proposals for co-branded consumer promotions, she said.

The academy spent more than $1 million advertising the show last year, per TNS Media Intelligence.