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A Worsening Case of Nerves for Oscar Advertisers

January 13, 2008 9:01 PM

The writers’ strike takedown of the Golden Globes last week has those who participate in the $300 million Oscar economy shaking in their red-soled Louboutins. The ongoing action by the Writers Guild of America helped scotch the Golden Globes broadcast on NBC because the Globes’ producer, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, couldn’t negotiate an interim deal with the striking scribes.

Now all eyes are on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ much bigger annual award ceremony, set to air on ABC Feb. 24.

“If you’re [an advertiser] in the Oscars now, you’re getting very, very nervous,” said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

For now, the Academy and ABC are operating on the premise that the show will go on as scheduled, although media buyers report ABC has made early contact with some marketers to discuss potential what-if scenarios. While nothing is finalized, some early ideas that have been mentioned involve pushing the Oscarcast back or running a diminished event on air, according to one person familiar with some of the discussions.

“There are no contingency plans at this point, and it’s premature to discuss that,” said an ABC representative. An Academy spokeswoman said the group is “moving forward” with its original plans for the event.

—Brian Steinberg and Claude Brodesser-Akner, Advertising Age

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