Oscars 2011 – proof that youth and good looks are boring

Oscars 2011 – proof that youth and good looks are boring


With as much emphasis as we marketers make on the appeal of youth and beauty to promote products, I thought it was interesting that the best moments came at the 2011 Academy Awards came not from the young, gorgeous hosts there to pull in the elusive 18-34….the best Oscar moments came from the older crowd.  There are some lessons we can learn from last night’s broadcast.

First, let’s talk about James Franco and Anne Hathaway. I thought he was a rather odd choice given all of the really funny younger comedians available. For example, I thought Jason Segel would have been a great choice. But the real problem with the hosts was not that they weren’t charming…they were. The problem was their material was still being written by old time Oscar writers like Bruce Vilanch. (I love Bruce, but he and his Carol Channing haircut really should have been retired years ago.) Again, if Segel had been hosting maybe we would have gotten some good Judd Apatow jokes in there. What’s the lesson here? That you can’t just stick  young, good looking talent up in front and use the same old tired copy. Not that your writers have to be YOUNG necessarily…they just need to prove they can write to the demographic you’re looking for.  The only good, current joke was about Charlie Sheen…and that was too easy.

Who didn’t love Kirk Douglas last night? What a great spirit – despite the fact his speech is slurred and he can barely walk without assistance, here’s a great example of an older statesman who appeals to the younger demographic because of his spirit. For the most part, marketing and advertising people are incredibly ageist. We are often blind to the appeal of an older person to our desired demo. We should remember that people in their 20’s usually love their grandparents more than their parents. (After all, GP’s are going to spoil them forever.) So I think it’s an incredible lesson that the best moment in the Oscars show came for a 94-year old man mock-competing with a young man and flirting with women of all ages. Betty White surprised all the advertising and marketing people with her universal appeal..the same appeal that Douglas has. Don’t disregard the ability of an older “talent” to speak to your younger demographic.

Another bad mistake of the aging writers last night was to try to dumb down Anne Hathaway. Who decided to turn her into a stupid, giggly girl when she’s one of the most talented actors of her generation? The younger demographic loves a smart girl. I think she really did some damage to her personal brand last night. Honestly, you couldn’t come up with a better song topic than Hugh Jackman won’t dance with me? I thought Anne’s parts bordered on sexist but that’s just me.

I make mention of Melissa Leo’s “f-bomb” here only because I think it was completely planned on her part. I’ve never seen an actress more bent on getting attention than this one. Remember, she’s the only one to take out her own ad asking folks to vote for her.  So rather than give her more press for a stupid stunt, I’ll leave it at that.

My favorite moments? I have two…the first was The “God of Love” winner, Luke Matheny, who said he should have got a haircut before tonight’s awards show.  He also thanking his mother for handling “craft services” for the film. We all identified with both of those statements and I thought Luke was charming and fun. It also made me think…why don’t they honor the up and coming filmmakers with awards, not just the older statesmen? Wouldn’t that pull in a younger demo or is that what the Independent Spirit Awards is about?

My second favorite moment was when David Seidler won for Best Original Screenplay for The King’s Speech. I did love the part about being a “late bloomer” but as a PR professional I thought the use of his back story to really build a story around this 73-year old was brilliant. I still haven’t seen the film, but I know that Seidler was a stutterer who was inspired by the King. I also know he wrote the Queen Mum asking to tell the story – she asked him to wait until she had passed because the memories were still too painful. And I know that Seidler still stutters today but has learned to manage it. The back story behind the movie’s story is one of the best since Lauren Hillenbrand and Seabiscuit.  (And that’s the lesson here..don’t just rely on the story find the TRUE stories behind your messages) So I loved that he won…as I’m sure did his publicist.

Did you miss the Oscars? Here’s a full list of the winners. If you watched, what were your favorite moments?