February 20, 2009
Sponsors are shying away from airtime during the 81st annual Academy Awards, to be broadcast by ABC on Sunday, Stuart Elliott reports for The New York Times. This reluctance is due in part to the public’s disdain for excess in these tough financial times, and also because of the low ratings that the program garnered last year.
Former sponsors, such as L’Oreal and General Motors, are declining to advertise. Even companies who have bought airtime are keeping a low profile and rejecting pre-show publicity. As a result, ABC is slashing the price of commercial time to as low as $1.4 million for 30 seconds, which is as much as 20 percent less than last year, the Elliott says.
Companies that want to reach women will place commercials during the Academy Awards, which draws more female viewers than the Super Bowl — Coca-Cola, for instance, will run an ad for Diet Coke, which commonly targets females.
Elliott reports that one of the reasons that marketers will still buy airtime, despite reservations, is that, “The show is one of the few so-called big TV events each year that viewers still prefer to watch live — commercials and all.”