I didn’t watch the Oscars this year

I didn’t watch the Oscars this year. And there’s a good chance that you didn’t either.

The ratings showed 10% fewer watching this year vs. last. Ratings tumbled even more among younger viewers.  Well, so much for attracting a younger audience with young attractive emcees!

According to industry experts, there are a number of things contributing to low Academy Award show ratings.  There weren’t any blockbuster hits in the running…an extremely popular movie always gives the ratings a boost.  And there weren’t any megastars up for awards either.

But neither of those explains my absence this year.  I love movies.  I make it a point to see as many of the award contenders as I can.  I LOVED the King’s Speech.  And I truly admire many of the nominated actors. I just saw Geoffrey Rush at BAM! So why didn’t I watch the show???

When I watch the Academy Awards, I want to be entertained.  The show is long and I find much of it, like many of those acceptance speeches by people in categories I have no interest in, to be boring.  And so I wait for the clever skits and those great politically incorrect lines to punctuate the program.  I wait to see how far the emcee is going to push it.  And to see how well the actors can take the hits that are given out and poke fun at themselves.  I watch to see someone put holes in the pomposity that frequently is Hollywood.

I have no objection to James Franco or Anne Hathaway.  They are both fine actors and very charming. But they are actors, not entertainers.  And the minute I heard they were emceeing, I lost interest.  I didn’t think either of them had the cojones to really get the job done they way I wanted.  And from what I read, it seems they didn’t.  To me, even a bad comedian is better than two actors trying to be.

What happened here?  The Academy Awards went off their brand.  I had a relationship with that brand.  That over the top yet self deprecating and frequently irreverent brand. And I had expectations of what it would deliver to me.  And when the characteristics of that brand changed, like it did this year, I no longer continued to be brand loyal.

You know that old saying…consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.  Well, it might be. But it is also the thing that helps maintain a brand over time.  Being consistent allows your customers to understand what you do, what you stand for.  It allows them to create a relationship with you.  Changing that disrupts that relationship and can easily alienate your customers.  And it’s why I didn’t watch the Oscars this year.

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