80 happy years. Don’t count on the next 20.

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Dear Mr. Oscar,

happy birthday. You’ve lived a long life and shared with us many beautiful moments. But it’s time to get the Ginseng root out and stop acting your age:

Watching the Academy Awards has become a borefest. We’re all waiting for moments (Jack Palance one-armed push-ups, streakers, whatever) but instead we get songs and dances and ‘I want to thank the Academy’ speeches.

Mr. Oscar, you’re suffering from a problem shared by many businesses: You don’t listen.

How many of us complained about the length of the show? 4 hours is even too long for a Super Bowl. 8 hours if you count the pre- and post-event coverage. Do we really need to see all the songs? Wouldn’t a medley do it? How about all the smaller awards? Animated Short, for example. Is there a way to give the nominees a decent platform without boring us to death? Acceptance speeches – Does everybody have to thank the Academy and forget the rest of their speech?

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Oscar, all award shows are facing a tough future: It used to be good enough to have the likes of Amy Winehouse and Brittney Spears on the bill to glue the nation to the TV. YouTube changed the consumption habits: Why wait for Amy Winehouse until 11pm if I can watch it next day rested in the office? The YouTubification makes 4 hours of Academy Awards almost unbearable. While we sit through another ‘Enchanted’ song we feel life slipping way: I could have read the Sunday NY Times, a book, my toaster manual – anything would be better.

What to do? First and foremost – Listen.

Listen to the desires of people why they watch the show. Understand that most people don’t care about 90% of the show. They are looking for the big awards, the big stars colliding, the big moments.

It’s going to be tough, Mr. Oscar. 80 years it’s been all about you. You were the center of the universe, everything revolved around you. Not anymore. People are snacking entertainment, easily distracted, bored. You have to make the show about the people outside of the Kodak Theatre. In this new marketing reality, the less selfish brands become, the more successful they will be.

Mr. Oscar, you had a good run. And I hope the run continues. But you need to change. It’s tough when you’re 80, I know. But you have no choice. Remember silent movies? Just saying.

Good luck!

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