For decades, the Super Bowl has been the standard for two premier categories on television; drawing in the biggest ratings of the year and having the best commercials. Knowing that the Super Bowl will bring in the most viewership, advertisers go all out on their marketing – creating some of the most unique, creative, and heartwarming ads seen on television. However, Sunday’s Oscars featured some of the most creative and deeply layered messages seen in commercials dealing with social commentary, inspiration, and the creative arts that rivaled what appeared in this years Super Bowl.

In a time when social-political affairs have the country divided, advertisers such as Cadillac, Audible, Hyatt, and The New York Times were not afraid to steer into ongoing social commentary and voice their opinion. Cadillac integrated their tagline ‘Dare Greatly’ into a powerful message, highlighted by the discussion that while we’re not the same, we can be one and all it takes is the willingness to dare. Audible took a quote from George Orwell’s 1984 (read by Zachary Quinto of Star Trek) addressing that if given the opportunity to know one another, we’d realize someone from a foreign place may not be so different from you or I. Hyatt delivered a message that no matter who you are or where you are from, that there is the opportunity to make one another feel welcomed anywhere in the world. Finally, The New York Times took a more direct approach with their social commentary, delivering their new marketing campaign around the idea that “The truth is more important now than ever” after being described as ‘fake news’ in recent weeks. On the brighter side, General Electric showcased an inspiring new campaign highlighting the achievements of women in science, starting the discussion of “What if female scientists were treated like celebrities?” as they plan to make a difference within the science community, a commercial and message inspired by Best Picture nominated film Hidden Figures.

On the creative side of marketing campaigns, industry leaders Rolex, Samsung, and Wal-Mart took a different approach in advertising their products. Rolex takes a look back at their involvement in the history of cinema by way of a montage of movie clips featuring their product within films, followed up by the tagline “It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.” It was a simple yet effective campaign, showing the history of their product as well as the glamour that comes with owning a Rolex. Samsung highlighted their involvement in the new age of filmmaking by bringing on popular YouTuber/Vlogger Casey Neistat as the spokesperson for the storytellers and filmmakers who use Samsung products to create their content for millions to enjoy. Lastly, Wal-Mart employed a brilliant marketing campaign, giving three different filmmakers (Marc Foster of Finding Neverland, Antoine Fuqua of Training Day, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg of This is the End) creative freedom to make a 60 second spot based off of the same Wal-Mart receipt. These by far took the most inspiration from the evening’s events by celebrating the creative arts and what it means to take a unique approach to advertising/filmmaking. My personal favorite was Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s ‘Bananas Town,’ creating a quick multi-layered musical based off of the receipts contents.

On a night that is usually focused on the stars and films being celebrated, there was plenty to discuss about the content that ran between the breaks. Is the Super Bowl’s reign of the most sought-after real estate on broadcast slowly coming to an end as advertisers look elsewhere to show off their big, powerful pieces? Only time will tell.

Blog Credit to Mark Moughamian, M2 Editor/Producer/Commercial Star Extraordinaire