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Author: Christie Marchese, CEO and Founder of Picture Motion

Oscars Commercials Are The Real Winners

Posted February 28, 2017

Sunday night, we honored the storytellers that moved us to feel, connect, empathize and mobilize in 2016. Stories of fighting for love, following our dreams and connecting with others: themes universal to the human experience.

But during the broadcast of the 89th Academy Awards it was the commercials that served this role. While we celebrated the stories that allow us to escape our reality, it was advertising that reminded us that we must channel that empathy we develop from these awarded stories – seen in films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Lion – and address our reality. They reminded us that our empathy must stretch beyond our homes and outside our borders.

In a world of unlimited content choices across social media, TV and new media platforms, the Oscars – like the Super Bowl – is one of the few moments that the largest percentage of Americans choose to witness something together. The coming together of an estimated 34 million people and was worth over $115 million in ad revenue, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

These companies bought time and chose to do something important with it. Here are the brands who sought to make an impact.


Zachary Quinto reads a from 1984, choosing a section about foreigners and subtly hinting at the president’s recent immigration policy.

The New York Times

The celebrated, and now often White House exiled, news organization released its first TV commercial in 17 years which became the most political statement of the night.

Revlon / The Love Project

In a time when our country seems divided by difference, Revlon showcased its commitment to supporting “love, kindness, empathy and understanding,” with a video featuring Lady Gaga, Pharell and Ellen Degeneres.


The classic car company used their 60 seconds to celebrate how the American spirit is about coming together and carrying eachother forward.


The hotel chain reminds us that a little understanding and humanity can go a long way.

Stella Artois / Water.org

One thing Jimmy Kimmel couldn’t pick on Matt Damon for was his and Stella Artois’s support of Water.org, a nonprofit getting clean water to women and their families.

In case watching these impactful commercials wasn’t proof enough they stole the show, just ask @realDonalTrump. The only subject from last night’s Oscars to earn a tweet from him was the New York Times.

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Christie Marchese is the founder and CEO of Picture Motion, where she leads a team of impact producers, marketing strategists and public interest communication specialists in developing social action and grassroots marketing campaigns for films. Working with filmmakers, distributors, brands and NGOs with stories that have the potential to inspire action, Picture Motion educates and inspires audiences to think critically, take action and drive lasting change. Recent projects include Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood, Ava DuVernay’s 13TH, Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next, Katie Couric’s Fed Up and Under the Gun, Shonda Rhimes and Norman Lear’s America Divided, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Keepers of the Game, Whole Foods Markets’ At the Fork,  Discovery’s Racing Extinction, The Weinstein Co’s BULLY and Fruitvale Station, and renown artist JR’s Ellis.