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Oscars 2024 Preview: The Ad Moments to Watch

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Roll out the red carpet because brands appear to be reconsidering the much-maligned TV awards show, often seen as old-fashioned and dusty in the digital age.

One of the granddaddies of the genre—the Oscars—could become a coveted water-cooler moment because of the ads launching in and around the broadcast this weekend.

Ahead of the 96th Oscars on Sunday, Disney Advertising sold out its ad inventory with sponsors spanning 17 categories. The company sought $1.7 million to $2.2 million for 30-second spots, which is up slightly from 2023. 

Participating advertisers include Airbnb, Allstate, Booking.com, DoorDash, Dunkin’, NerdWallet, Mountain Dew Baja Blast, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Starbucks, Walmart and many more. Several pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, are advertising on the night, as are Hollywood studios promoting their upcoming films. There will also likely be some repeat campaigns from the Super Bowl. 

Marketers get “heightened engagement” from audiences that are “hungry for a shared experience in real-time,” Danielle Delauro, executive vice president at the Video Advertising Bureau, told Adweek. “People who watch the Oscars are passionate, they’re leaning in and advertisers see the value in this kind of live tentpole event.”

Here are a few key advertising moments and trends to look out for, some already generating considerable buzz and social media chatter: 

Skinny-shaming Hollywood

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has grabbed headlines and fueled conversations with “Big Night,” which skinny-shames celebrities for misusing weight loss drugs such as Ozempic. The voiceover doesn’t call out Hollywood specifically for the off-label practice, but the visual references to the Oscars—a red carpet rolling out, a glittery gown, professional photographers—are unmistakable.  

The 30-second ad says such drugs are not for “vanity” but rather for people with obesity. “It matters who gets them,” the voiceover concludes. 

Eli Lilly itself manufactures the weight loss drug tirzepatide, which is sold under the brand name Zepbound. Left unstated in the marketing is the cost of such drugs, which can put them out of reach for average Americans.

It won’t be the first time that the glitterati and Big Pharma rub shoulders on premium TV programming. The hot-button issue got a call out on-stage during the Emmys earlier this year, when Christina Applegate leaned on her cane, swept her arm across her figure and said, “Body not by Ozempic.” The actor, in her characteristic dark humor, was referring to her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis and the physical toll it has taken on her.

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