Ad ventures

Advertisers plan to debut their latest and greatest commercials Sunday night.

If TV viewers have been seeing a number of big spots before their eyes in recent weeks, the phenomenon has a lot to do with the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.

Taking full advantage of their potential viewing audiences, advertisers have been using the big-ticket events to launch fresh campaigns or introduce new product lines, and the Academy Awards will be no exception.

Typically, the second most-expensive network TV buy after the Super Bowl, the Oscars (including the hourlong arrivals preshow) now command an average of $1.7 million for a 30-second spot, according to industry sources. That's up approximately 7% from last year's quotes and double the going rate a decade ago.

First dibs are traditionally given to advertisers from previous years, and in most cases, ad time is purchased many months before the nominations are announced.

Among the new spots waiting in the Oscar wings for their big close-up:
Coca-Cola will be running no fewer than seven ads during the ceremony, including one during the preshow. Four will be for Diet Coke, including the debut of the moviegoing-themed "First Date." Another new commercial will introduce Tab Energy, being billed as the first energy drink created for and marketed to women, with the tag line, "Fuel To Be Fabulous." Teasers during the arrivals show, meanwhile, will trumpet the new coffee-fusion beverage Coca-Cola Blak.

The Miller Brewing Co., the official beer sponsor of this year's Oscars, will be marking the occasion by relaunching Miller Genuine Draft, complete with new packaging and a "Beer. Grown Up" campaign designed to tie in to the current mainstream-sophistication trend embraced by the likes of Target and Banana Republic. Its 60-second "Red Line" spot is comprised of vignettes in which characters step over the symbolic line to make defining changes in their lives.

Kodak will be assuming a more poignant tone as it unveils the newest commercial in its "Gallery" campaign. Promoting Kodak mammography software, the spot features children visiting an art gallery displaying photos of women from all walks of life who have beaten cancer, accompanied by the voice-over, "The most powerful images are the ones that help doctors save lives," and the tag line, "Keep Healthy: Keep It Kodak."

And, though it officially made its debut after the Super Bowl, the latest in's amusing series of monkey-business ads will have an encore performance during the Oscars. Called "Pointer," the commercial features a hapless office employee trying to get a roomful of chimps armed with laser pointers to pay attention to his presentation, with the inevitable chaotic results.