And the Award Goes To…: 7 Mobile-Savvy Brands that Dazzled on Oscar Night

Team Braze By Team Braze Feb 28, 2017

On Sunday night, the world was invited to Hollywood’s Super Bowl: the 89th Academy Awards. The Oscars consistently ranks as the most-watched entertainment broadcast on television and this year’s edition saw more than 32.9 million U.S. viewers tune in, despite the show’s running time, which was the longest to date.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards was expected to be memorable, given the fraught political climate surrounding it. But with historic wins— including Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali, who became the first Muslim actor to win an acting Oscar—and the accidental awarding of the Best Picture trophy to La La Land instead of Moonlight, the real winner, this year’s ceremony will be remembered for a long time.

As one of the year’s biggest events, the Academy Awards always garner a lot of attention—from viewers, movie fans, fashionistas, but also from marketers. This year’s Oscars ad spend is estimated to be $115 million, and many brands chose to supplement their advertising dollars (or bypass TV ads completely) by making mobile a focus of their Oscars marketing strategy.

That makes sense: taking advantage of cultural tentpoles like the Oscars can be a great way to strengthen relationships with your users—and to nudge them to take action. Let’s take a look at seven brands that shone on Hollywood’s biggest night:

Food/Beverage Brands

Like many televised cultural tentpoles, the Academy Awards are often watched in groups at Oscars viewing parties. This creates a unique opportunity for food and beverage apps to market themselves as the perfect hosting companion. Here’s how a apps helped users rival Jimmy Kimmel as best host of the night.


On-demand alcohol delivery app Saucey took advantage of Oscar season to engage their users by sending a multichannel campaign featuring push notifications and a vivid, highly-visual email featuring chic, black and white imagery reminiscent of old Hollywood.

Saucey oscars push notification

By highlighting cinema-inspired wines, suggesting the perfect food pairings, and allowing users to schedule their alcohol delivery ahead of time, Saucey kept their engagement relevant and provided real value by giving users the tools to host a classy, stress-free viewing party.

Saucey oscar email campaign


Food and drink delivery brand Postmates got in on the fun early with this enticing in-app message. Users who opened the app this weekend were greeted with a $100 delivery fee credit to use over Oscars weekend. The generous and timely message helped keep Postmates top of mind both for users who were hosting viewing parties on the big night, as well as for those who were staying in to catch up on the nominees in the days leading up to the ceremony.

postmates oscars push notification


Like Saucey, Ibotta’s messaging smartly aimed to inspire great viewing parties on Oscar weekend. In addition to offering various discounts over the weekend via push notification, Ibotta sent emails providing recipients with a range of movie-inspired dishes, beverage suggestions, and more.

ibotta oscars push notification

This multichannel campaign used the Academy Awards to clearly demonstrate the benefits of engaging with Ibotta’s app and provided clear value to the people who received it—a winning combination!

Ibotta email oscars promo

Beauty/Glamour Brands

Studies find that many Oscars viewers are watching as much for the fashion as for the awardsin fact, #RedCarpet is typically the most-tweeted hashtag of the night. While users were busy gushing over their favorite celebrities’ hair, makeup, and fashion choices, these beauty brands used customer messaging to help their audience bring the red carpet home with them.

Glam Squad

Glam Squad’s Oscar-focused email gave users a simple, digestible message building on the excitement leading up to the big show. The brand used their outreach to highlight their favorite trends on the red carpet this season—in this case, Old-Hollywood retro waves and deep berry lip colors—and make them attainable by allowing users to book hair and makeup appointments straight from the email.

glamsquad oscars email


Sephora highlighted the “Best Of” their products from perfume to lipstick to highlighter in this themed email. To encourage users to order, they upped their usual three free samples with online orders to five, making this a compelling promotion for Oscars viewers excited to try the new trends in makeup and hairstyling that they saw on the red carpet.

Sephora oscars email


It wouldn’t be the Academy Awards without news outlets chiming in with predictions, whispers of upsets, and exclusive interviews with the stars, but check out how these smart media sources took two very different, yet effective approaches to Oscars night.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair, which famously hosts the Vanity Fair Oscars After Party, sent out an Oscars edition of their Cocktail Hour email newsletter. By featuring stories that built on the excitement of the event to come and celebrated the ceremonies of the past, Vanity Fair effectively used email to reinforce their status as a hallmark of all things glamorous—and to capture readers’ attention in the run-up to Oscar night.

Vanity Fair Email Oscars

Vox leveraged IOS 10’s rich push capabilities to add value to users’ Oscars experience. With all the viewing parties and Oscars polls floating around between friends, the show is simply more fun when you’ve seen at least a few of the films.

Vox oscars rich push notification

Vox tapped into this insight, curating content that would make it simple for users to find out where they could find the films in the final stretch before the show and also making it easily accessible by using rich push which allows users to access the content straight from the notification.

How can your brand take part?

Looking to chime in on cultural tentpoles like the Oscars in ways that resonates with your consumers? Here are a few tools that can help make your messages award-worthy:

  • Audience segmentation: Segment your audience based on location, interests, specific activity completion, and more to deliver relevant, more targeting messages.
  • Location-based personalization: Personalize your messages based on your users’ locations. For example, you could share local traffic updates to help users get to their viewing parties on time or fun facts about the winners’ filming locations to users who live in the area.
  • Content-Rich Messages: Including visual content in your outreach can boost CTA engagement by 57%, so consider using messaging channels (like email, in-app messages, and rich push notifications) that support images, GIFs, and other eye-catching visuals.

While tools like these can help make your marketing shine, there’s no replacement for knowing what your brand brings to the table. While it can be easy to jump on the bandwagon of what everyone’s talking about, the best advice is to think about how your users relate to your brand, how your brand relates to the event, and where those two fields interact—that’s your marketing sweet spot.

For more data, insights, and tips on how to best market to your users during these cultural tentpoles, check out Appboy’s marketing cheat sheets for the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

Big Show Cheat Sheet

Team Braze

Team Braze

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