oscars winners holding trophies

How the Best Oscars Acceptance Speeches Can Help You Win at Social Media

By: Carmen Collins, Senior Social Media & Talent Brand Manager, Cisco

February 25, 2019

Let’s be honest: For the most part, the Oscars are a “Hollywood thing.” We watch the red carpet closely so we can know who wore what. We snooze, multi-task or go get a snack during the first few hours (making an exception to run into the room and shout “Wakanda Forever!”) And we wait for the last half hour for “the big moments.”

If you look beyond the pomp and circumstance, though, there’s something underneath the surface to take to heart, especially if you work in marketing and social media. (Emphasis on the “heart.”)

Carmen Collins

Carmen Collins, Senior Social Media & Talent Brand Lead, Cisco HR

While listening to the acceptance speeches, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a few that truly stood out. There always are: Roberto Benigni’s climbing over seats to reach the stage. Sally Field’s “You like me, right now, you like me!”

This year, I was particularly moved by a small group of speeches. They’re probably the same ones that moved you, for the same reasons that move all of us: Humanity. Humility. Humor. Heart.

If a speech—or any other piece of content—moves us emotionally, it moves those we’re marketing to. So why, in social media, do we continue to prioritize “branding” over “connection?” We sacrifice emotion for looking good, or reading just right, or having the right color or the right text. Many brands want to control the message instead of having a conversation. I see it every day, and it gets me thinking about all of the missed opportunities.

Your “brand” is what consumers feel about you. It’s why Apple nerds like myself buy a new iPhone every year when we don’t need it. It’s not about the specs. It’s not about the stats. It’s not about the numbers at all. It’s about the connection.

I could bore you with a ton of stats here. Like the fact that neuro-imagery shows that consumers evaluate brands with emotions over information. Emotional response to an ad drives purchases two to three times more than the content itself. Blah blah blah—this is like an Oscars speech that runs over and needs some play-off-the-stage music.

Let me just show you.

Carmen Collins will be speaking as part of The Social Shake-Up 2019, May 6-8 in Atlanta. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours today.

This speech is like most brands’ approach to marketing. It’s just reading a long list of names, and badly at that. It’s a hot mess. Yes, you’d like to thank your significant other, your director, people we don’t know or truly want to know. Why should we know them? We have no connection with them. And bombarding us with a list doesn’t make us want to! All of the emotion is gone. With every litany of names, the audience is further removed from caring.


I mean, Regina King is a queen whatever she does, but she rocked this speech with her presence, her realness, and heck, with her mom. Maybe you didn’t see the movie (I didn’t.) But if you don’t feel proud of her after this speech, then you, my friend, are a Grinch.


If the mom card doesn’t hit you in the tear ducts, then the grandma card surely will. Mahershala Ali’s Best Supporting Actor speech was humble, heartfelt and made me want to go see yet another Oscars film I ignored. You can even see the other actors and actresses saying what a class act he is when the camera pans out.


Olivia Colman’s Lead Actress speech is about as real as you can get. She clearly didn’t expect to win, but used humor to cover up her unpreparedness. From fan-girling over Lady Gaga to apologizing to Glenn Close for meeting under these circumstances—I want to give HER a “massive snog” for probably the best speech of the night.


The most heartfelt speech of the night had to be Rami Malek’s Lead Actor speech. “Bohemia Rhapsody” was one of the only Oscar noms I’d actually watched, and given I’m a fan from his Mr. Robot days, I was rooting for him. He made a statement about immigrant contributions (both his and the character’s) without beating the issue over your head. He spoke of his fellow cast with true admiration. He was clearly thankful and not insincere about it. And he is clearly in love with his co-star. I wanted to hug them both.

These are the speeches that we’ll be talking about for all of the right reasons. And these are the characteristics that belong in your social media marketing.

It’s important to speak from the heart, and it’s okay for brands to have a heart. It’s okay if everything isn’t “perfectly perfect” from a branding standpoint. Any brand that doesn’t have enough flexibility to share what’s truly behind the curtain isn’t going to find much success with its stiff social presence. Marketers might as well focus on something else: connections. They’re what brings us to the table as consumers, users, fans and followers. Feeling connected makes us click “like”—and it’s no coincidence that the way we do so on Twitter and Instagram is by touching a heart icon.

Keep these speeches in mind the next time you want to boost engagement with your audience. And then, give them something to truly ❤️.

Follow Carmen: @CShirkeyCollins


At The Social Shake-Up