The Buzz: Primetime Emmy Awards 2022

Brand Implications

It seemed the Academy’s goal this year was to streamline a normally packed ceremony. As part of this process, large brand involvement was missing from the ceremony. However, one tradition was still evident: the Fiji water campaign. This featured bottles on every table of guests and the “Fiji Water girl” distributing bottles on the red carpet. Other than that, the big sponsorships were vehicle brand KIA and Accenture, a technology services company.

The KIA moment consisted of a three-minute digital bit featuring two actors repeating the same scene in a KIA vehicle, but within different television genres. Accenture was named as a sponsor on the red carpet and by the announcer during the show. In a skit with host Kenan Thompson he asked actor Kumail Nanjiani to make him a drink behind the award ceremony’s built-in bar. This moment revealed Diageo products behind the bar and might have been what the audience was drinking. If the Emmys taught us anything this year, it was that less is more on the brand front.

BEN Takeaways

Academy Attempts to Dissolve Streaming Wars

When the Emmy nominations were announced it quickly became evident that each series’ corresponding network was not included: a trend that carried over into the awards show. The Academy stated this was an attempt to dissolve the streaming wars that have overshadowed previous Emmy awards shows. With so many platforms and so little time, award shows seem to be an audience indicator of which platforms have the most value and are worth their monthly fees. This year The Academy wanted to focus on television as a whole and not which series were linear versus streaming and which streaming platforms dominated. As the nominations and winners were announced, the network names remained unstated. In previous years the networks would remain prominently on screen as the winners collected their awards. This was not the case in 2022 as the winners’ and series’ names took the spotlight. This did not stop audiences and critics from tallying network wins on their own.

History Made by Black Women

This year’s show produced a series of history-making wins for black women in entertainment, such as industry veteran Sheryl Lee Ralph winning her first television award after decades in the industry. Ralph won supporting actor in a comedy for her role in ABC’s breakout series Abbott Elementary as only the second black woman to win the category. Creator of Abbott, Quinta Brunson, also made history becoming only the second black woman to win the comedy writing category. Meanwhile, Lizzo’s Amazon series Watch Out for the Big Grrrls dethroned RuPaul’s Drag Race as best competition series, moving the music icon to tears in her acceptance speech. Zendaya won best actress in a drama for the second year in a row for her role as the troubled teen Rue on HBO’s Euphoria. She is now the youngest woman to win back-to-back acting Emmys for the same category and is the first black woman ever to do so. 

It’s All In the Hands of the Creators

• Mike White won multiple times for his doomed resort series White Lotus, a premise he and his producing partner had in their pockets for a decade. The concept didn’t come to fruition until the pandemic hit, quarantining the cast and crew at a resort in Hawaii. 
• Quinta Brunson’s smash hit Abbott Elementary was inspired by her mother’s teaching career and the comedy and struggles that live within predominantly black schools,
• As Lizzo stated in her acceptance speech, growing up she just wanted to see women like her on screen, and that prompted her to create her now winning series Watch Out For the Big Grrrls


The number of Emmys won by HBO/HBO Max — the most of any network. This was an announcement made by many media sources, despite the show’s attempt at eliminating network names from the ceremony.

Disney and Apple followed with four. Netflix took home three.

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