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Cinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box Office

By Hannah Hill on Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 09:37 AM |


Movie theaters are a go-to destination for date night, family time, birthday parties and rainy afternoons. All the aforementioned occasions have brought me to a local cinema at one time or another and I’m sure you can relate. Who doesn’t like a trip to the movies? Nielsen’s studies show that moviegoers are male and female, young and old, white and non-white, which means advertisers have the opportunity to reach just about anyone on the big screen, including their target demographic.

According to the Cinema Advertising Council (CAC), cinema advertising revenues reached a new record in 2013: $677.9 million. Compared to the previous year, cinema advertising rose 6.5% in 2013 and the CAC is optimistic about continued growth. CAC President Katy Loria said, “This growth is a result of more new brands moving into cinema, the unique power of the movie theater as a venue for creative, engaging advertising, and a movement by agencies to a more video-neutral approach that places cinema alongside TV and online platforms.”

Local, regional and national advertisers who incorporate cinema advertising into their media mix can take advantage of the following benefits:

Exposure to captive audiences

After moviegoers purchase their tickets and snacks and make a pit stop at the bathroom, they settle into their semi-comfortable seats where they will remain for the next 90 to 120 minutesCinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box Office with their eyes glued to the big screen. They won’t get up during the movie, especially if sitting in the middle of a row, and they aren’t supposed to be texting or playing Candy Crush during the film either. Movie theaters might be the one place to escape multiscreening. For all of these reasons, advertisers have a rare opportunity to put their messages in front of a captive audience at the movie theater and take advantage of their undivided attention.

Connect with consumers at the local level

When was the last time you arrived early to the theater and there was nothing playing on the screen? Yea, I can’t think of a time either. The amount of pre-movie advertising seems to have increased during the past few years, which leads me to believe it offers a good return on investment. Mixed in with the Hollywood trivia (and friendly reminders to silence our cell phones) are ads for local chiropractors, restaurants, colleges, dental offices and more. These local advertisers use the big screen to increase awareness in their communities and educate consumers about their products and services.

Cinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box OfficeBut local advertisers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from movie theater advertising; national advertisers want in on the action, too. Cinema advertising gives national advertisers the opportunity to connect with consumers on a local level. I mean, what national advertiser doesn’t want to hang out with their target audience on a Saturday night? Coca-Cola is just one of the many national advertisers using cinema screens to reach consumers. If you caught a movie in early 2013, you probably saw a replay of Coke’s Chase ad which aired during Super Bowl XLVII.

Increased brand recall

Maybe it’s the atmosphere or a chemical in the buttery popcorn, but the cinema outperforms television when it comes to brand recall. According to Nielsen research, brand recall is often 50% greater for advertisements shown at the movie theater than those viewed on television. Because consumers actively seek out movie theaters for the experience, they are more engaged and likely to remember the ads they are shown. It also doesn’t hurt that good movie theater etiquette (e.g. limited whispers and cell phone usage) is still practiced by the majority of moviegoers which eliminates distractions.

Cinema advertising offers a variety of benefits including exposure to captive audiences, the ability to connect with consumers at the local level and increased brand recall. Next week we’ll highlight product placement as another way for advertisers to get in front of consumers at the movies.

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.