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The music has run out on the Oscars

Good morning! Sunday’s Academy Awards saw its lowest viewership in its history. Just 9.85 million people tuned in to the 93rd annual ceremony, according to Nielsen’s early numbers. It’s more than a 50% audience drop since the year before, writes Ad Age’s Ethan Jakob Craft. And compare that to the 34 million people who watched the very first Oscars broadcast in 1953, and there’s no doubt Hollywood’s biggest night is fading from the limelight.

Still, several long-term Academy Awards advertisers returned, such as Verizon and Cadillac, while Airbnb, Apartments.com and Grey Goose made their debuts, each paying around $2 million for 30-seconds of airtime this year, according to media buyers.

The low ratings is a trend for broadcast and award shows during the pandemic. The Super Bowl saw its lowest audience since 2007, while the Grammys and Golden Globes each saw their worst ratings ever.

Oscar-worthy: Curious which ad industry hotshots won big at the Academy Awards this year? See who took home the coveted statues here.

Yeez-sir

In February 2008, Kanye West wore his Nike Air Yeezy sneakers for the first time as he performed at the 50th annual Grammy Awards. Since then, the Air Yeezy and Air Yeezy II have become coveted by sneakerheads. The shoes West wore that night, the Nike Air Yeezy 2008 prototype sneaker, sold at Sotheby’s in a private sale for $1.8 million to sneaker investing platform Rares. They were placed on bid from sneaker collector Ryan Chang.

The sale marks a new world record for the price of a pair of shoes, according to Sotheby’s, which started dedicated sneaker sales in 2019. It shatters the previous auction record by nearly three times, and was the first sneaker sale to top $1 million. The last record was set in May 2020 when a pair of $560,000 Air Jordan 1’s, designed and worn by Michael Jordan, were sold.

“The sale speaks volumes of Kanye’s legacy as one of the most influential clothing and sneaker designers of our time, and of the Yeezy franchise he has built which has become an industry titan,” says Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear & Modern Collectables.

Automaker decides to consolidate

Global automaker Stellantis—created through the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group—has retained Publicis Groupe to run its entire global media account, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz and Judann Pollack.

Publicis, which previously handled media for the company’s FCA brands like Jeep and Ram, now adds the PSA brands too, including Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall—taking those away from incumbent WPP. The automaker, which spent $4.2 billion on advertising last year according to Ad Age Datacenter, is seeking to cut costs with bundled media buys.

A new ride

In more auto and agency news, rental company Enterprise has selected its first agency of record to lead global brand strategy. The parent to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car selected Ogilvy after a review with four finalists. It was one of the first major pitches Ogilvy Global CEO Andy Main has been involved with since joining the agency last summer. The appointment follows a tough year for rental car brands.

Randal Narike, executive VP, global mobility and customer experience at Enterprise Holdings, told Ad Age’s Brian Bonilla that the agency “brings a deep understanding of the mobility landscape and a data-driven approach to building brands that will bolster our efforts to be the leading mobility provider in the world.”

Just briefly:

In more sneaker news: Earlier this year, Chips Ahoy and Dominic Ciambrone, CEO and founder of custom shoe design shop The Shoe Surgeon, asked fans what they wanted in a dream sneaker collab as the brand raised $120,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The results were dropped on streetwear e-commerce app NTWRK last night and only 21 fans had the opportunity to purchase a pair for $1. The shoes, which look like a pack of Chips Ahoy cookies in shoe form, will also be appearing on the brand’s animated “spokes-cookie,” now back in TV and digital ads after a six-year hiatus.

'Next Bite': Chobani has launched its first podcast, and it’s all about the future of food and sustainability. The three-part series, created with The New York Times’ T Brand studio, will feature farmers and entrepreneurs discussing how they are working to innovate for the future. “Next Bite” is available on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, among others.

The tech stampede: Today is also a big day for tech quarterly earnings. Be on the lookout for Google, Microsoft and Pinterest releasing their results today. Last year, the brand saw a 13% revenue spike to $1.4 billion. The Adobe Summit also kicks off today and runs to Thursday. Viewers can tune in to catch brands like Panera, Black+Decker and Sephora share marketing insights and see celebrities like Dan Levy and Serena Williams.

Last chance: Today is the final day to enter the Ad Age Small Agency Awards, the premier showcase for independent agencies with 150 or fewer employees. Enter by 5 p.m. EDT right here.

That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading, and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insights, follow us on Twitter: @adage.

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