This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

Which Brands Took Home The Oscar?

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“We feel passionately about live appointment viewing events and events that create real-time sharing”  

– Seth Kaufman, VP-Marketing, PepsiCo.

Over the last ten years, the average viewership for the Oscars has been 39.1 million per telecast. Last night, 40.2 million tuned in making the 2014 Oscars the highest-rated Academy Award show since 2005. This is much-welcomed news for Oscar advertisers considering that the cost for one thirty second ad rose 10 percent this year to a record $1.8 million.

These ratings shouldn’t be a surprise, however. As we wrote earlier this year, the 2014 Golden Globes saw their highest audience ever and last year was the highest-grossing film year of all time. So it makes sense that the Oscars would pull quite a crowd.

On average, 61 percent of the Oscar audience is female and the show typically generates over 13 million social media comments on show day alone. Although that will probably increase this year as Ellen’s Oscar selfie broke the record for the most recorded re-tweets ever (currently at 2.5 million), causing Twitter a brief service hiccup…

Twitter _ TheAcademy_ Sorry, our bad. #Oscars ...

So what did brands do when they were in front of this audience?

Longtime sponsor Diet Coke pulled out this year leaving an opening for Pepsi. A key strategy for brands buying big-time events is to use the moment to introduce something new. For Pepsi, this meant promoting 7.5 ounce mini colas.

Coldwell Banker put forth a more emotional piece with Tom Selleck as the VO. Not quite as exciting as their Grammy spot with the Crüe, but each one was more appropriate for their respective broadcasts.

We always know when a Muppets Movie is on the horizon because they start appearing in all sorts of shows and ads. For the Oscars, Lipton used them well for #BeMoreTea.

But in terms of context, give the folks at Google high-marks: they purchased the commercial break just after the Best Screenplay awards were handed out to remind us how we’re all storytellers.

In the end, however, it was Samsung who clearly won the night. That selfie from Ellen? It was taken with her Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and there were multiple ads surrounding all the in-broadcast use during the breaks.