Entertainment TV The unexpected benefits of the Oscars blunder

The unexpected benefits of the Oscars blunder

Presenter Warren Beatty holds the envelope containing the wrong award announcement for Best Picture at the Oscars. Photo: Getty
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The now infamous Oscars blunder will lead to a more than 10 per cent increase in DVD and Blu-ray sales compared to previous Best Picture winners and a “double win” at the box office, marketing experts have predicted.

The mishap during the momentous Best Picture announcement was splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the world and prompted widespread derision among viewers.

While the awards show’s ratings hit an 11-year low – a four per cent drop compared to last year – publicity of the Oscars quickly gained momentum as viewers were left in shock and immediately sought answers as to who was at fault for the error.

Queensland University of Technology’s Michael Klaehn, a lecturer in masters in creative advertising, told The New Daily he expected both Moonlight and La La Land would reach the top two movies at the box office.

“Usually the Best Picture would go straight to No.1,” Mr Klaehn said.

“So under these circumstances, I don’t believe we would see a split in sales between the two movies, but rather double sales overall. If you see one movie, there’s nothing to stop you seeing the other one the next day.”

Deakin University marketing lecturer Michael Callaghan said there would also be a flow-on effect to DVD sales and predicted a significant increase.

“I would predict DVD and Blu-ray sales will be at least 10 per cent higher than previous Best Picture winners in years when there was no controversy attached to the win,” he said.

Brands leverage publicity

Companies such as Specsavers were quick to take advantage of the virality of the incident, posting a tweet soon after the event depicting a red envelope containing a card that read, “Not getting the Big Picture? Should’ve gone to Specsavers”.

Mr Callaghan drew a parallel to a Volvo’s advertising campaign in the early 2000s which sought to reposition the brand by adopting the negative stigma “Bloody Volvo driver” as a catch phrase, to instil a positive safety message.

“From a psychological and behavioural perspective, the campaign should not have worked. But it did,” he said.

“I think what we’ve seen after the Oscars is a classic example of this.

“The error has increased the profile of the Oscars and has had a positive effect on interest levels.”

When there are winners, there are losers

But not everyone benefited from the blunder.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which has been entrusted at the awards ceremony for the past 83 years, issued a public apology and indicated the company would investigate the error.

It is understood that one of its accountants, Brian Cullinan, was responsible for handing out the sealed envelopes at the Oscars ceremony and had posted a backstage photo of actress Emma Stone on Twitter minutes before the mix-up. The post was later deleted.

Brian Cullinan PwC Oscars

“PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway,” it read.

“We are currently investigating how this could have happened and deeply regret that this occurred.”

Some said the mishap shifted the attention away from what was really important at this year’s Academy Awards – its political tone.

Monash University Associate Professor in film and screen studies Therese Davis told The New Daily that while the gaffe would be historical, so too was the event’s politicisation.

“It’s a real shame that everyone is talking about the the error and aren’t reflecting on some of the speeches,” Ms Davis said.

“[Donald] Trump‘s response that it wasn’t a glamorous event was also worrying. Hollywood has always been deeply political, it’s nothing new.”

Not unprecedented

The ordeal was reminiscent of previous mistakes made on live television, where there is no room for human error.

It was not the first time the Oscars, along with several other high-profile awards shows, got it wrong.

Watch below:

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