Look no further than the 2016 Oscars for examples of how to create “buzz,” a valuable commodity in the age of social media and endless entertainment. The event provided a feast of content for media outlets among the fashion, awards, performances and candid host, Chris Rock.
Rock’s monologue confronted the lack of diversity in nominees, which garnered lots of attention for the show in the last couple months. Stars were boycotting The Oscars in protest and Rock worked it into his comedy using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. There were one-liners dispersed throughout the show, funny interviews about The Oscars with black people on the street, and hilariously edited videos featuring the nominated movies. The lesson? People get upset and vocalize their negative opinions, but it is absolutely possible to use it in a positive way. Be sure to admit that a mistake was made and don’t shy away.
One of Rock’s (and Girl Scouts of the USA’s) best moments was when he brought out his daughter and her Girl Scout troop. They sold boxes of Girl Scout cookies directly to the stars and raised over $65,000 in just a few hours. Another notable moment was Lady Gaga’s performance of “‘Til It Happens to You,” a song that confronts the issue of sexual abuse on college campuses. Actual victims of sexual abuse appeared on stage and many audience members were moved to tears by the performance. The takeaway is that people react to emotion and want to help causes they care about, so make it entertaining and they will.
The power of celebrity also became apparent as Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar and gave a very politically-charged speech. He confronted the perils of global warming, many social issues and the need for “leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity.” DiCaprio’s speech was met with incredible support on social media by other celebrities and fans. The #GoldenGlobes hashtag quickly became populated with comments about DiCaprio’s first win and his speech.
As proven by this year’s Oscars, entertainment is a must in 2016. If that element isn’t provided and the messages aren’t tailored to the audience, people have no hesitation finding another source of entertainment.
Do you think Chris Rock went too far with his jokes about diversity for the sake of entertainment? Do you think political messages have a place in an awards show like The Oscars?