Magazine article ADWEEK

ABC Signs New Oscar Stars: Long-Term Sponsors Hyundai and Coca-Cola Bid Farewell to Hollywood's Main Event, Leaving the Door Open for General Motors and Pepsi

Magazine article ADWEEK

ABC Signs New Oscar Stars: Long-Term Sponsors Hyundai and Coca-Cola Bid Farewell to Hollywood's Main Event, Leaving the Door Open for General Motors and Pepsi

Article excerpt

After a lengthy stretch during which they served as exclusive category sponsors of the Academy Awards, Hyundai and Coca-Cola have decided to leave the red carpet behind.

The automaker and soft drink giant told Adweek that they would not be buying time in this year's Oscars gala, which is set to air Sunday, March 2 on ABC.

While the departure of the two sponsors is noteworthy--the official auto advertiser of the Academy Awards since 2009, top-spending Hyundai invested north of $12 million in last year's broadcast, while eight-year backer Coca-Cola accounted for the third-largest commitment ($8.5 million)--the categories were snapped up in short order. According to several sources, General Motors has assumed the exclusive automaker position, while Pepsi reclaimed the nonalcoholic beverage sponsorship from its biggest rival. Pepsi is priming the pump for its first Oscars appearance since 2005 with a promotion for Regal Hollywood Theaters.

ABC declined to comment on the shifting Oscars roster.

According to media buyers familiar with the situation, ABC sold out earlier than it ever had before, commanding an average unit price of around $1.85 million per 30-second spot. The last chunk of inventory was claimed just before Halloween.

If these are perhaps the most significant defections since L'Oreal Paris abandoned ship in 2009, not all of ABC's blue-chip clients have bowed out of Hollywood's annual celebration of itself. JCPenney confirmed that it would return as the official retail sponsor of the Academy Awards, marking its 13th year as a supporter of the Oscars. …

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