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Retailers Catch Oscar Fever

21 Jan, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Oscar fever is catching on and specialty retailers have got it, notably with an Oscars trailer in Best Buy and Blockbuster Video stores and posters at Blockbuster and 600 independent retailers.

For the next two months, movie fans across the country will be able to see a one-minute trailer promoting the 76th Annual Academy Awards ceremony on

in-store monitors at 5,000 Blockbuster and 138 Best Buy stores nationwide.

Set to the hip-hop sounds of OutKast's hit “Hey Ya,” the trailer features a variety of clips from previous Oscar telecasts and “red carpet moments” featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars. The ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 29. Also shipped to retailers is the Academy's official 76th Oscar poster.

This is the first time the Academy has done outreach directly to retailers. The organization had worked with the Video Software Dealers Association over the past 10 years to distribute posters to member retailers, but this year it struck out on its own. “It was just something we decided to try this year,” said an Academy spokesperson. “We want to improve the ratings and get the word out there with a different audience.”

In addition to displaying the posters and trailer, Blockbuster stores will set up special displays similar to new-release areas in its stores. “They are having a ‘Watch a Winner' wall, so you go into the store and have a wall set up with all sorts of tune-in messages for the awards, the trailer running there and they will also have Oscar-winning and –nominated titles displayed around it,” the Academy spokesperson said.

A Blockbuster spokesperson confirmed the merchandising plans and said the chain is also co-promoting with ABC.com, but would not give details of that promotion.

Best Buy will show the trailer in 138 of its stores, but would not disclose other details by press time.

The trailer will also be shown on 14,000 movie screens throughout the United States. Oscars sponsor United Airlines will show a version of the trailer on flights in February.

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