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February 16, 2022

The Oscars are 'the Super Bowl for women'

We always think Super Bowl when we consider the biggest advertising spectacle of the year.

And with good reason. It cost a whopping US$3 million for a 30-second spot in the Colts-Saints game earlier this month. Some agencies even levied several full-minute commercials on viewers during the span of that game. That’s H.E. Pennypacker-type money.

But that’s not to suggest high-cost ads are exclusive to the Super Bowl and, in fact, the next high-profile advertising event is coming soon.

As it turns out, the Academy Awards – set this year for March 7th – boast a surprising NFL-esque price tag on its commercial space.

According to a release sent out by Kantar Media, a 30-second spot at last year’s Oscars sold for US$1.3 million and – while 2010 numbers aren’t yet available – that 2009 price was actually down from the event’s peak ad price.

After climbing every year since 2002, the Oscars commercial price hit its zenith at US$1.69 million in 2008; the recession, experts say, was to blame at last year’s awards, which saved advertisers almost $400,000 per 30 seconds.

Perhaps most interesting in the Kantar release, however, is what the Academy Awards are referred to in advertising circles: “the Super Bowl for women.”

Crude? Maybe, but check out the list of advertisers and make up your own mind.

Rounding out the expected heavyweight advertisers (financial service companies, beverage makers and car manufacturers) list during the Oscars are categories like “department stores” and “cosmetics and hair care,” which take up the fourth and fifth biggest commercial time slices, respectively.

L’Oreal and JC Penney, absentees during the real Super Bowl, are always among the biggest ad spenders during the show.

So, maybe Kantar Media is onto something. Perhaps the Oscars largely are for the consumption of women.

I mean, how else can you explain Joan Rivers still being there every year?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...