Analysis & Opinion

Consumer Pulse: The Oscar glitter on Twitter

February 25, 2009 MullenLowe

Enough of the recession. The conversation on Twitter was buzzing last night as the glitz at the Oscars shone bright. From the exotic and yet humble overtures of Slumdog to the array of exciting colors on the red carpet, the Oscars provided a voyeuristic window into popular culture. Through a Mullen-initiated dialogue, consumers across America posted their thoughts and opinions at www.redcarpet09.com.

Uncannily, what we found is that the prevailing consumer sentiment about the Oscars was a telling reflection of our times:

1. Consumers need an emotional breakation

52% of viewers said they were watching the Oscars for pure, unadulterated escapism – and Sunday night didn’t disappoint. Despite early predictions that fashions would be toned down, stars strolled the runway in a cascade of color and sparkle. Among consumer favorites were celebrities who went for vibrant colors (Alicia Keys and Natalie Portman) or those who took sparkle to the extreme (Sara Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway). Clearly, consumers were in the mood for a little brightness.

2. It’s a time to celebrate slumdogs and underdogs

Consumers were enraptured by the little movie that could (Slumdog Millionaire) and its enthusiastic, young, exotic Bollywood stars. They were also pepped up by the freshness of Viola Davis and Taraji Henson. And consumers were hrilled to watch Sean Penn take the Oscar for Milk, more so for what his character represented than anything else. Consumers felt that watching the under privileged, prejudiced, and little guy succeed gave them reason for renewed hope.

3. Not everyone looks up to success, money and power

Half of the consumers were looking for train wrecks and for the mighty to fall; the others were ogling the stars and fashion trends. Many took comfort in knowing that regardless of the spoils of success that even successful people can walk onto the red carpet looking like a disaster. Perhaps Miley Cyrus is a bit too young to know better, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the ski hat? Consumers didn’t think that was cool.

4. It’s time for the Millennials, as the young Americans step forward

A new breed of young stars from Slumdog, High School Musical, Twilight and Bolt dominated the red carpet, as the likes of Anne Hathaway outshone the venerable favorites such as Meryl Streep. Confident and poised, they showed that Millennials are no longer sitting on the sidelines but are coming into their own as a force to be reckoned with.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS?

  • Americans are looking for permission to escape. Give them ways to let go without breaking the bank.
  • It’s a great time for challenger and underdog brands to breakthrough – and win.
  • Somberness and recession talk is out; brightness and optimism are in.
  • It’s time to take Millennials seriously. Don’t leave them out of your consideration set.