The Best Ads of The 2020 Academy Awards

Lindsey Pizula

By: Lindsey Pizula

Senior Strategist

The 2020 Oscars concluded our roundup of some of the most anticipated award shows and live events this season. While not as renowned for its humorous ad spots as the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards was certainly a highly coveted space for advertisers this year.

Per Kantar Media, a 30-second spot cost up to $2.8 million, a 31% increase over 2019. Many of the evening’s sponsored brands aired ads specifically tailored for the Oscars, catering to movie lovers everywhere; here were some of the standouts:

First up, Google’s #FindYourScene

As one of The Oscars’ official sponsors, Google did not disappoint with its creative ad for movie lovers. The tech giant celebrated the 15th anniversary of Google Maps by showcasing some of its unique capabilities; in this case, it was highlighting Google Maps ability to find and direct users to famous movie scene locations. One of the settings depicted was the Brooklyn stairs that Joaquin Phoenix danced on in the nominated movie Joker. On Twitter, Google leveraged the hashtag #FindYourScene, encouraging movie buffs to go out in the world and find the locations of their favorite movie scenes.

Disney+: They’re more than movies.

Disney+ was bound to have an impactful ad, given the power it had with The Oscars airing on Disney-owned ABC. Despite having the most Oscar nominations from any studio, Netflix was unable to run ads during the Oscars, giving Disney+ a huge opportunity for exposure.

Disney+’s commercial was simple, yet extremely nostalgic and sentimental. The ad featured clips from Disney-owned content, old and new, sharing sweet moments between characters many viewers have grown to love, ending on the saying “They’re more than movies. They’re memories.” As someone who loves many of the movies that were featured, I was a total sucker for this one.

M&Ms: Let M Say it for You

The M&Ms Company decided to go in a more humorous direction, featuring short and cheeky advertisements for their new “Let M Say it for You” packaging. The ad highlighted how M&M packages are perfect for any Oscar moment. Although more catered towards the audience sitting in the Dolby Theatre, these commercials were a fun take on the ups and downs of the ceremony. For example, there was “You Make Mama Proud” packaging shown for winners of the night and the “Emotional Support Candy” packaging shown for the losers.

Not Oscar-specific but equally impactful, Verizon Wireless:

Following it’s 2019 strategy, Verizon’s ads featured real Verizon customers. Verizon’s commercials highlighted an array of touching stories, from a daughter using Verizon to help cope with her father’s cancer, to an elderly Angolan immigrant who uses video chat via Verizon to stay connected with his family across the United States.

Other brands that were featured throughout the night included Rolex, Cadillac, Quibi, Hulu, Adobe, Postmates, McDonalds, and more.

Live events continue to give brands ripe, authentic opportunities to connect with highly engaged audiences. It is always interesting to see the innovative ways brands are able to resonate emotionally with their consumers, especially when done in the context of whichever particular event is airing.

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