Business Lessons from the Oscars music performances

Last Sunday, (2th March) the 86th Academy Awards took place in Los Angeles, California. I love the music live performances in these awards, this year some of them were fantastic. The element of surprise arose when “20 feet from stardom” won the best documentary award, and the awesome Darlene Love sang a capella “His Eye is on the Sparrow”.  

After watching it, I got some business lessons and conclusions from the Oscars 2014:

  • Remember the names!

One of the funniest moments of the awards ceremony was when John Travolta introduced the performance of “Let It Go”, the song from the film “Frozen” : “ Here to perform the Oscar-nominated and gorgeously empowering song ‘Let It Go’ from the Oscar-winning animated movie Frozen, please welcome the wickedly talented, the one and only, Adela Dazeen”.

What is the problem? Well, the name of the artist is slightly different: Idina Menzel ! The mockery on Twitter and on the Internet in general started minutes later.  A Twitter account was quickly set up: “@AdelaDazeem” tweeted “THANK YOU, JORN TROMOLTO!”

It didn’t matter: Idina Menzel visited the Jimmy Fallon show to perform “Let it Go” with “The Roots”, leaving a (In my opinion) nicer version of the song and Jimmy Fallon talked in his monologue about this Travolta’s flub.

Conclusion: Try to remember the names. When doing businesses, when speaking in public, in your daily life: it is a good signal of education and care. If you are as disastrous as I am, use an agenda or notebook to help you to remember the names of the people you have met or you have to introduce.

  •  Your image matters

In marketing terms, the Oscars are now not only a place to sell the films (a tool to increase revenue), but also a catwalk, so fashion and make up firms to reach an enormous impact easier than with a traditional marketing campaign.

It is the same for artists performing there: it is an excellent platform for branding and marketing.  If you believe that Pharrell was everywhere during 2013 (in Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred lines”…) this year you’ll continue to see him everywhere (Happy is going to be one of the songs of 2014). U2 made a fantastic acoustic version of “Ordinary love” (that will be probably on sale soon).

 Conclusion: Take profit of live events, such as Business meetings, festivals…to market your products or services. It works better than traditional marketing.

  • Target your fans

It was smart for the person who designed the schedule and performances at the Oscars, the way she or he did it. There was an artist for each age: The fairy tale of “Frozen” and Idina Menzel dressed as a princess. The young riot girl(Pink). The young cool artist (Pharrell). The rock group (U2). The alternative artists (Karen O and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig). The mature artist (Bette Midler)

Conclusion:  Set your objectives, analyze your market and choose the best strategies for each of your targets. It is Marketing.

  • If your product is good, keep it simple

In my opinion, the best performances were Darlene Love’s, U2’s “Ordinary Love”, Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” and Karen O’s “Moon Song”. Voice and music. Simple and easy.

Conclusion: Everybody loves things when they are nice and easy. Keep it in mind when designing a product. 

  • Never lose an opportunity

Could you imagine a live performance with some of the backup singers who appear at the award-winning documentary “20 Feet From  Stardom”?  Claudia Lennear and the Ikettes, Darlene Love…they are mythical (if you haven’t done, I recommend you to watch the trailer of the documentary).  “20 Feet From Stardom” explores the history of these predominately African-American through the rock era, analyzing their low profile career, even when performing for the best artists of the era, and more personal career frustrations, especially those who faced the very different challenge of singing in the spotlight themselves.

 In my opinion the backup singers should have been performing there, and organizers lost an opportunity for a fantastic performance.

The speech of Paolo Sorrentino after winning the Awards with “La Grande Bellezza” (The Great Beauty) is the perfect conclusion for this post. Viva Fellini e Roma.

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