Academy uses social strategy to get data

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is planning to take advantage of Hollywood’s biggest night — the March 7 Academy Awards ceremony — with consumer engagement, database building and mobile marketing efforts.

The Academy and Los Angeles-based agency Omelet released an Oscars app for the iPhone and iPod Touch last month. The organization also launched social media initiatives and consumer engagement promotions on

“We want to bring everyone in,” said Janet Weiss, director of marketing for the Academy. “We want to open the curtain and allow viewers to experience the Oscars in a way they haven’t been able to before. Social and digital platforms allow for a really unique experience.”

More than 36 million viewers watched last year’s Oscars broadcast, an improvement of more than 4 million viewers from the year before. The total audience, among the lowest in history, was far smaller than the 46 million people who watched the awards show in 2000, according to reported numbers from ABC.

Oscar season is still an opportunity for database building and e-mail marketing. On, consumers can compete against friends and predict winners, answer trivia questions and compare scores in the “Live Challenge.” To play, consumers must register on, where they can opt in for the monthly newsletter and weekly promotional e-mails. Users can also sign up for RSS feeds and mobile alerts. The Challenge, developed with broadcast partner ABC, will function through the Oscars broadcast.

This year’s ceremony will also feature a designated spot on the red carpet for celebrities to answer fan questions posted on the AMPAS Facebook page.

“We streamed the nominations announcement live on Facebook so fans from all over the world could watch at once and chat about the nominations with friends,” she said.

On the Oscar iPhone and iPod Touch app, consumers can watch the trailers of best picture-nominated films, view nominee lists and make winner predictions. The predictions will be saved to a database for sharing through Facebook and Twitter, e-mail and text messaging. Weiss said the free app has been downloaded approximately 25,000 times.

“[The Academy] is a very traditional and amazing brand that’s hoping to reach a wider and younger audience,” said Steven Amato, a partner at Omelet. “Because of technology, some of those consumers may not see the traditional ads driving them to tune in, so we’re using more efficient tools to drive viewership and giving them the tools to communicate with friends about the event.”

Weiss said the iPhone app will be updated yearly. The academy will also try to keep the mobile audience engaged throughout the offseason, she added.

“We love for people to interact with us and learn more about who we are,” she said. “We’re going to be producing content and doing more programs throughout the year, but we’re all living and breathing the show right now.”

In January, the Recording Academy and AOR TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles, incorporated social, online and mobile marketing into a campaign to promote the Grammy Awards, which aired January 31.

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