Psst. It’s not about the movies


Confession: I kinda like awards shows.

The dresses, the tears, the suspense of a category where it’s too close to call, and undeniably, the allure of live TV where just about anything can happen:


In addition to streaking, something that occurred quite often in awards shows of the past was that when winners took to the podium to accept the statuettes, they mentioned the actual films and the film-making process instead of a cause du jour, the day’s trending topic on Twitter—or if you’re J.K. Simmons, a reminder to call your mom and dad.

Go figure.

Sarcasm aside, there’s a valuable communications lesson here. Unless you are Meryl Streep, those opportunities just don’t come around very often, so I’ve never much resented those winners who plant their well-dressed feet in the spotlight, dare the orchestra to rush them, and have their say in front of a few billion people.

It’s true, your cause likely will never have an audience of that size, but those times in the spotlight do come around sometimes. Be prepared and make the most of them.

It’s a simple thing, but bad weather is a great marketing/communications catalyst because everyone is experiencing the same thing at the time time. In addition to the ubiquitous jokes about bread and milk, there’s talk about community, checking on the elderly, equipping shelters, making sure blood supplies don’t run too low, helping the needy keep the heat on, taking care of pets, etc., etc.. If your cause is part of the Deep Freeze story, make sure your message gets heard.

And circling back to last night’s Academy Awards, there’s no doubt that ALS and Alzheimer’s non-profits everywhere are riding the coattails of Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore to increase support for better patient care and research.

Skeptical? Consider a clip posted last fall to YouTube of the Louisville Leopard Percussionists playing Led Zeppelin. It caught the ear of Jimmy Page himself and has gone viral with help from Time magazine, Amy Poehler, Rosie O’Donnell and others.


The Leopards are loving it, and I’m betting if they didn’t have a waiting list already, they’ve got one now.

Tell your story with enthusiasm and consistency. When the spotlight comes, who cares if you are wearing Bass Weejuns instead of Jimmy Choos? Stand fast, wink at that orchestra and speak your piece.

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