Skip to main content
Music or Movies: Which Academy Came Out On Top This Awards Season?

Woe to us! No more red carpet mishaps or semi-awkward, on-stage repartee. But then it was great while it lasted—and largely due to the access all of us outsiders were granted via social media. So who, of the two bigger and more popular award shows (the Oscars and the Grammys) did the better job? Let’s compare…

The Concepts

1. “Music is Life is Music”—following 2010’s successful “We’re all Fans” campaign, the Grammys chose to make their social media presence a lot more personal this year. The campaign itself focused on individual “musical journeys”—more specifically, it emphasized every song or band’s tie to a place and past event in our lives that, thanks to social media, can be mapped out and shared.

2. “Road to the Oscars”—this year’s Oscars was all about public access. Phrases like “You’re Invited”, “Backstage Pass”, and “Your Oscars” feature prominently on the revamped website, where users are encouraged to believe that they are now a digital member of the elite few invited to participate in the event.

Tactic 1: Multiple Platforms

Both Academies made significant updates to their sites to complement their campaigns, the most critical of which included links to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online blogs. The Oscars’ use of Facebook and Twitter pages here stands out, however, as users were actively engaged in generating questions that might be selected by the red-carpet correspondents questioning celebrities live from the red carpet. And, following the event itself, celebrity moms took to the Twitter page to relive seeing their sons and daughters on the big night.

Tactic 2: Dual Screen Experience

While neither the Grammys nor the Oscars opted for a full-out streamed telecast of their respective awards shows, both offered complementary “insiders’ looks” into past shows, event  prep, the red carpet, backstage events, and after parties. Again, the Oscars shine here, offering a pre-show “Road to the Oscars” web series followed by live footage from more than 2 dozen cameras set up all over the event. If you were accessing this footage on the official Oscar website, however, you didn’t do it for free—viewers were charged $4.99 for the premium “All Access” 360 cam experience.

Tactic 3: Uber Apps


The Grammys’ Music Mapper App is (note my use of present tense) truly a thing of beauty. As per the above, the app puts the campaign concept into practice by allowing users to tag locations on a local map with songs/artists (pulled from Rdio) along with the personal stories attached to them. The app also incorporates Flickr and Foursquare features, attaching pictures and venue information where possible. As if that weren't sufficient, a built in QR Code Reader links users from Grammy ads to footage of old award show performances. Keep in mind, this is all shareable—not only does the app link you to others via Twitter and Facebook, an augmented reality feature identifies all tags in whatever space or location the user happens to find themselves. This last feature packs more of a punch when you acknowledge the celebrity and artist participation that occurred before, during, and after the awards (among others, Eminem’s “musical journey” was shared with millions of fans).

The Oscar apps, on the other hand, were slightly less cohesive. Rather that one singular package, fans were offered the year-round Oscars App (which allowed them to share nomination predictions and featured Oscar history and movie trailers) and the new Backstage Pass App—the second a more clear attempt to tie in the marketing concept as it tapped into all of the footage and camera feeds available online, as well as an interactive map of the red carpet, the Kodak Theater, and the Governors Ball. True, the 360 access is a nice touch (what better way to appeal to film buffs then to allow them control over camera angles?), but again, not something users got for free—up through awards day, viewers were charged $0.99 to go “Backstage”.

And the Award Goes To...

Sorry Oscars—this blogger’s got to go with the Grammys on this one. As a concept, “Music is Life is Music” is simply too poignant to be withstood, and the Grammys’ execution of its message was more cohesive (not to mention free). There can be no doubt that both Academies used apps as the primary vehicle for attracting viewers, and while the Oscars had some impressive camera angles, Music Mapper’s got longevity. And, let’s not forget that despite the Oscars’ efforts to engage the younger generation, this year’s TV viewership fell while numbers for the Grammys rose significantly. Better luck next time Oscars?

Looking for more info? Check out Mashable’s article “The Oscars and Social Media by the Numbers” for an in-depth look into the analytics behind the campaign and some brief comparisons to Grammy stats. You can also take a look at analytics for the Golden Globes via this LA Times Awards Tracker post.