Lessons from the Oscars on how to land your key messages.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

I may be the only person who didn’t know this, but I was surprised (although not all the way to shocked) to hear that in advance of the Academy Awards nominations, movies are heavily promoted directly to the white, male geezers that make up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts in hopes of sealing their Oscar fate.  Take Ben Affleck for example, he’s been campaigning for Argo like the burgeoning politician that he is.

The thing is, like any good politician or brand (because really, aren’t politicians just brands), there are only a few messages that clearly get through to their audience.  Based on the movies nominated in recent memory it seems the key messages for the Academy are:  my grandmother would like this, it’s 3 hours long, it at most hints at controversy, and it’s historical or artsy (or better yet both).  If you can land these then you’re golden, Oscar golden.  But this means many great movies don’t stand a chance of winning.  Look at Zero Dark Thirty, it can’t win because it suggested the US tortured in its manhunt for Osama Bin Laden (gasp!).

But does that matter?  Maybe the Academy isn’t the audience you need to win with.   When it comes to landing your brand’s key messages, think about who you need to win with:  those who are seemingly important but potentially irrelevant, or those who will simply love you for who you are.

So what are our predictions for Sunday’s show?  We wanted to see Searching for Sugar Man up for best picture but it’s up for best documentary…not bad.  So we’ll go with Argo for best pic, Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln and Naomi Watts for The Impossible.  And we’ll predict Angelina Jolie will stun us with her left leg this time.