Influencing the Social Event of the Year
Once a year, a group of the biggest cultural influencers in the world flounce down the red carpet, pose for the cameras, and receive global adoration for their work in film – and the rest of us watch, and tweet, and re-watch and re-tweet with adoration or scrutiny, or both. The Academy Awards inspire momentous social conversation across demographic and platforms. And brands, of course, do not want to miss out on the fun. For the past several years, brands have tried to insert themselves, whether appropriate or not, into real-time, cultural conversations. However, few have ever reached their Oreo moment. Some brands have even learned the hard way why real-time marketing is a gamble, as many consumers, and publications, lambaste those companies that try so hard – and fall so flat. But brands are savvy and do not easily quit. Instead, many are learning from their past real-time and devising strategies that are not so blatant. And here is where influencer marketing makes its grand entrance on what is arguably the world’s biggest stage.
Last years, Oscar sponsors teamed up with Vanity Fair and WeWork to create the inaugural Vanity Fair Social Club newsroom or, #VFSC, a weekend long event that brings together the brightest social media stars and influencers to blog, vlog and tweet about the stars, the fashion and of course, the brands, all from one location. These new media personalities are brands in and of themselves – as many have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers across their social accounts. Followers depend on prolific social influencers to provide lifestyle tips, cultural commentary and behind-the-scenes glimpses and forging relationships with these engaging individuals has offered brands the opportunity to be present within social media dialogue without overtly directing it. The difference between bloggers and brands, is that the public instantly connects with the human behind the blog or Instagram feed whereas brands still have not quite been able to put a human stamp on their identities.
Additionally, during this year’s new room sessions, guests of VFSC will have even more incentive for providing Oscars fodder than just connecting with their audience – now there will be a Twitter vending machine in which a mention can earn them a swanky prize, similar to Marc Jacob’s pop-up Twitter Shop in 2014.
While it will be difficult to directly measure the impact social media personalities can have on a sponsor’s product, it is safe to say, that their involvement will more organically bridge the gap between brand and audience. During one of the most exciting telecasts, audiences don’t want to feel constantly bombarded and pitched to by brands. Instead, they are looking for the type of social conversations, observations, and recommendations that they might hear from friends.
Stay tuned for our upcoming infographic on Influencer Strategy.