For the Oscars and more, the red carpet continues to compel social audiences
Gate Lambert, creative director, VaynerMedia EMEA explores why the red carpet’s new pop culture moments are a big deal for brands.
While viewers are up since the worst of the pandemic, award show viewing figures remain in long-term decline. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t engaging with them.
Will Smith’s infamous ’Slapgate’ at last year’s Oscars dominated headlines (for all the wrong reasons, but still). Its reverberations are still being felt, as evident in Chris Rock’s recent Netflix special, Selective Outrage, and host Jimmy Kimmel’s comments about his own safety at last night’s awards.
Outside of that 2022 moment, however, most people struggle to recall anything else that happened during the ceremony. Physical altercations aside, attention is mainly focused on two key moments – the speeches and the red carpet.
Prior to this year’s event, #Oscars2023 content had already received over 80m views on TikTok, which continues to grow. Award shows continue to fascinate but, unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the buzz is being generated on social media. The build-up starts weeks in advance and viral moments linger long after the red (or champagne) carpet is rolled up.
But should brands care?
Red carpets still attract attention in droves. Film studios see huge value in wheeling out the world’s biggest and best talent to draw attention to their projects and capture content. And of course, it’s not just film studios. The famous red carpet treatment is lavished on the launch of TV series, fashion events, books and even video games for the same reasons.
At these events, audiences get to see more celebrities being their natural selves. Unscripted, cheeky and willing to answer (almost) any question.
Most importantly, the way these events are covered and shared is changing. No longer the domain of the same old celebrity journalists at a junket – news publications, social platforms and brands are now sending accredited influencers or content creators to speak to the stars.
These interviewers approach the occasion from a different angle. Not only are they often charismatic, and/or funny themselves – think Amelia Dimoldenberg – but they also have large, highly engaged audiences.
Previously, red carpet content may have been hopefully shared on Twitter by journalists or the newspapers they wrote for. But now, creators release content that – thanks to their popularity – gets an unparalleled boost from platform algorithms.
And if there’s chemistry – whether good or bad – the key moments are seen by millions. It’s easy to think these audiences are predominantly Gen Z, but the truth is content flows across all platforms, is seen by all ages, and if anyone misses the viral moment on social media, the subsequent coverage on chat shows and other outlets is enormous. Social feeds today are already awash with videos dissecting the eye-rolling Hugh Grant interviews and mainstream media has covered it too.
Influencer Emma Chamberlain and musician Jack Harlow were specifically interviewed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon about their viral red carpet moment. Amelia Dimoldenberg has become the newfound queen of the scene and her recent red-carpet moments with Louis Theroux and Andrew Garfield both sent fans into a frenzy. People are invested in these celebrity-creator relationships and it builds the momentum behind following events.
When Keke Palmer conducted red carpet interviews for Vogue’s coverage of the 2021 Met Gala, she burst into “Oh oh oh, I know it ain’t the Stallion” – a moment which went viral on TikTok, was then remixed and went viral again.
The crucial consideration for brands, and especially CMOs, is ensuring that their marketing teams are on top of these moments in pop culture, and engage with them on behalf of the brand where relevant.
Put simply, the right comment on a viral post can have a bigger impact on brand recall, awareness, and favorability – more so than incredibly expensive product placement or, dare we say it, a traditional digital media spot.
It’s a great opportunity to get people talking about your brand, product or industry, and create plenty of organic content.
At VaynerMedia, we are obsessive about platforms and culture, and firmly believe marketing that effectively uses both, wins. There’s an abundance of culture at red-carpet events, so the only necessary ingredient that needs adding is the platform(s) on which you feel your content will best reach your target audience.
Once they have the cultural opportunity, and the platform strategy sorted, brands will find themselves with a great jumping-off point for organic content creation, which can later be weaponized with paid media support once top performers have been identified
And the best news is that there is no shortage of such cultural opportunities. In the past year, we’ve captured heaps of TikTok content at events such as Amazon Prime’s ‘beige carpet’ premiere for Lord of The Rings: Rings of Power, Avatar 2’s ‘blue carpet’, Cannes Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival’s red carpets, to name a few.
Obviously, not every brand should turn up to any event. It’s hard to think why Fairy Liquid should turn up to the next Bond film premiere – but there are plenty of brands that definitely could. Think Aston Martin, Omega, Martini…
These pop culture moments can provide huge opportunities for brands to live in the comments section, learn about their audiences, and most importantly, connect with them.
Social media platforms will decide today which #Oscars2023 moments we’ll remember this time next year.