FORTUNE -- At $1.6 to $1.8 million per 30-sec. spot, the Academy Awards are second only to the Superbowl as a high-value stage for advertisers to strut their stuff before a massive TV audience.
The Oscars were a different story. The two companies went head-to-head Sunday night with Hollywood-themed commercials that highlighted their contrasting approach to the medium this season.
Samsung once again went for story-telling and star-power with a series of interconnected spots that dropped Lebron James' name (again) and delivered director Tim (Frankenweenie) Burton but soft-pedaled Samsung's Galaxy line.
There was nothing soft about Apple's focus on its product line. Although the iPad commercial it debuted Sunday night showed the versatility of the format the company introduced last week, it's not likely to go viral any time soon.
The first TV ads gave Apple's tablet computer a short-lived shot in the arm
In the weeks since Steve Jobs unveiled his latest creation, public perception of the iPad has been all over the lot -- up, down and sideways.
The chart at right, produced by YouGov's BrandIndex, is a snapshot of that roller coaster ride taken in the days before and just after Apple (AAPL) aired the first iPad TV MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 19, 2010 11:05 AM ET
He showed up to watch Pixar's "Up" win best-animated -- and to air the first iPad ad
Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar triumph for the "Hurt Locker" may be the headline in Monday's papers, but for Apple (AAPL) fans the big news Sunday evening was Steve Jobs' appearance on the red carpet in a tuxedo.
"OMG, it's Steve Jobs! I'm the only one yelling at him!" tweeted marketing strategist Wayne Sutton, who grabbed a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 8, 2010 7:31 AM ET
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