Marketers have long ago realized that Hollywood moves product and adds brand cachet. Nevertheless, celebrities have only recently started capitalizing on being their own brand. The Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammys have all become fair game for enticing talent to interact. Car companies, liquor sponsors and fashion brands bemoan how competitive the landscape has gotten. Yet, they still go after such opportunities because they have long known that getting a coveted placement during awards season is a huge coup with lasting benefits.
That strategically placed bottle of Moët on Brad and Angelina’s table? Not a coincidence. Liquor sponsors vie for a coveted spot at the awards show table. The much-publicized red carpet wars are also a point of contention among fashion houses. Huge designers retain celebrities to guarantee they will walk out with their design on the big day. A trained fashion-eye can predict what each starlet will walk out wearing even before the red carpet starts. We can all spot the Dior or Versace girls from a mile away. Car companies have also entered the game, as cameras pan out to capture arrivals. Celebrities step out from their fancy ride and that precise moment has all been masterfully planned by a PR pro. Car companies are also playing ball by sponsoring awards season events. Audi is known to throw the best pre-party for the Emmys. Electronics brand Samsung also entertains the industry elite with events surrounding the most important awards shows.
As brand alignment during awards season has become more and more commonplace (read: more noticeable to consumers) marketers should keep a few best practices in mind when suggesting these strategies to clients.
1. Make it seem organic
Celebrities are well aware of their value and as of late, have been more and more likely to say no to cheesy placements. Don’t ask them to hold a breath spray down the carpet (trust me, I’ve unfortunately seen this) or to comment on why they love the energy drink brand sponsoring the event. A better bet is to make these items available at the event and wait for an organic interaction while simultaneously making sure your photographer is alert to capture the moment.
2. Stay away from becoming predictable
Switching the celebrities and awards shows you activate around will keep consumers interested and engaged.
3. Consider pre-press
There is so much excitement surrounding the night of the larger awards shows and consequently, a lot more brands competing for placements. Get creative and suggest to your clients’ pre-awards press. Line up a segment with an expert in the field that highlights trends leading up to the big show.
4. Use social media
You may also consider inserting yourself in the conversation for significantly less via a social media campaign. This is also an option for clients who don’t have the budget to host larger activations or who don’t have a team in Los Angeles.