Two years ago I was consulting for a well-known novelty brand whose message has always been cheeky and playful. We scratched our heads wondering how we could plug into the excitement around the Oscars with no budget and even less time. The brand’s audience is loyal, funny, predominantly female, and excited about the red carpet pre-show as much as the main event.
So on February 22, 2009 we turned to Twitter and created our own little digital water cooler. This may seem like child’s play now but I assure you that just two short years ago, this kind of real-time discussion around a major cultural event was big!
Inspired by the brand’s Gold Label Duckie we launched their 1st Annual Golden Duckie Awards, asking followers to tweet which of the brand’s broad range of humorous duckies best matched a celebrity walking the red carpet. We live-tweeted throughout the broadcast with authentic conversation about the nominees and events as they happened. The best contest answers were awarded a Golden Duckie with public acknowledgment via Twitter, email, and their site.
Fast forward to right this minute and we have options galore for real-time participation with this year’s Academy Awards: from the red carpet, to livestreaming the broadcast, to a virtual backstage pass to the awards and parties.
Mashable quoted Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate regarding the giant dip in viewer interest, only a few years ago, and the renewed enthusiasm that’s likely attributable to social media.
“This is a big event, the last of the water-cooler shows,” says Brad Adgate, senior vice president and director of research at Horizon Media, who added that social media has given awards shows such as the Oscars a huge boost. In 2008, the Oscars drew about 32 million viewers. Last year, 41.7 million people tuned in. Likewise, the Grammys had 19 million viewers in 2009 vs. 26.5 million during 2011′s telecast. “Two years ago, these awards shows had really bottomed out in terms of viewing,” he says. “But there’s a huge upswing in ratings that can only be attributed to social media.”
“But social media doesn’t just amplify the ratings. It also condenses the discussion time about the event, putting Adgate’s analogy in a new light. “We’re witnessing the death of the water cooler,” says Josh Rose, EVP and digital creative director for ad agency Deutsch LA. “Now we’re simultaneously witnessing and talking about these events. If you’re not part of that discussion, you’re too late the next day.”
I’m thrilled that I was there at the beginning of this new phenomenon and I’m excited to see where it all goes from here! And now it’s time for the big show! In 2011 you can watch online or have fun with these apps.
Just be sure to clean off your buttery popcorned fingers before hitting the keyboard.