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PR-Academy Urges Oscar Marketing Restraint

Note from author Robert Marich. Film distributors spend between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to mount “Oscar campaigns” per selected film, hoping to nab nominations and wins. The motion picture academy discourages overt campaigning and issues regulations to keep efforts from becoming excessive. The motion picture academy has just 5,800 members, so influencing just a few hundred can greatly impact voting outcomes.  Campaigns involve placing trade newspaper advertising, direct mail, private group screenings for academy members, publicity efforts and cocktail parties with filmmakers.  A cadre of Oscar marketing experts  -- who are hired as consultants on a project basis -- typically orchestrate these Oscar campaigns.

PRESS RELEASE -- August 7, 2007

Academy Issues Campaign Regulations for 80th Academy Awards®

Beverly Hills, CA — Regulations for marketing campaigns for the up-coming 80th Academy Awards have been approved by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and are being distributed to film companies this week.

This year’s Regulations strongly encourage companies to reduce the volume of surface mail by consolidating multiple mailings into a single one whenever possible or by using email instead. “We have been troubled in the past by the vast amount of surface mail that film companies generate in connection with their campaigns,” said Academy President Sid Ganis. “While we very much want our members to continue to take advantage of the many scheduled screenings, we hope this change in the Regulations will encourage companies to be more thoughtful and conservation-minded when they disseminate their screening information.”

The Regulations also note that companies should, whenever possible, allow members to opt out of receiving any or all mailings.

With regard to screenplays, the Regulations permit companies to place downloadable versions on a Web site for Academy members to access if they choose. Another notable change is that eligible music may no longer be sent to any members at any time. This prohibition includes recordings, sheet music and music videos.

Campaign Regulations are issued by the Academy each year to ensure fairness in the Awards competition and to remind all involved that the Academy’s decisions are based solely on the merits of the eligible films and achievements. Violations of the Regulations are subject to penalty, though in recent years the level of compliance has been very high.

Academy Award® nominations in all categories will be announced on January 22, 2008. The 80th Academy Awards presentation will be telecast live by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 24, 2008.

Note: Regulations concerning the promotion of films eligible for the 80th Academy Awards are available at http://www.oscars.org/regulations.

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