Oscar Day in LA: It’s All Marketing

It’s like Christmas today in LA, except Santa Clause has been replaced by a gold statue. It honestly feels like a holiday here. The supermarkets were a mad rush this morning with people buying food for tonight’s TV dinner (because everyone who is not at a party will be eating in front of the TV). There is less traffic on the streets, and friends call to with me a happy Oscar day, even though I do not work in the movie industry. For the last few days, the question I am asked most has been, “What are you plans for Sunday night?” On Friday, the studios let the employees go home early, and Friday afternoon traffic was a thick mess of mayhem with people rushing home for what they considered a holiday weekend.

All week, as I walk down my street, I have seen limos and catering trucks pulled up outside the apartment building where Marisa Tomei lives. At the end of my block, across Sunset, the Chateau Marmont is buzzing with paparazzi, more limos, and fans gathered outside. Each night there has been a party on the hotel’s rooftop terrace. You cannot drive down Sunset, literally, it’s a slow crawl because traffic is so heavy from the party’s and pre-award events.

What does any of this have to do with marketing? It’s all marketing, of course. The parties, the paparazzi (which have been notified thanks to the stars’ publicists) and the fans are the symbol of every given stars’ brand in action.

A friend of mine works at a major studio in their events department. She told me that the studios are scaling back this year because they don’t want to make the “Wall Street” mistake of displaying overt opulence in the midst of a nasty recession. Though the word is never used, this week is really all about Brand. How you show off your brand at the Zero hour, the moment it counts most. Designer dresses, designer jewels, scaled-back gift baskets, eco-friendly limos, and repeated advertisements of “The Wrestler,” “Milk,” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” on your TV, so many times you think you may go blind one more time if you see Sean Penn’s face, or see Marisa Tomei dancing, or the set of India’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

As for the rest of us, the mortals outside the industry, we are the examples of how it has all paid off, all the marketing, all the advertising, all the buzz in blogs and forums of which star is where. We look at our watches, we plan our day so we will be home early enough tonight to watch the Red Carpet showdown. It’s Oscar’s day, and it was created by Marketers. Today is the visual culmination of marketing at work. All of us marketers should be blessed with such positive results—and large budgets.

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