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Silver Screen Shines
10 Aug 2000 :
The silver screen has been undergoing a renaissance in the last few years. The story of the change of cinema theatres from ‘flea-pits’ to fully-serviced, comfortable theatres providing popcorn, food and drink has been well-documented and known to anyone who has recently visited a cinema.

And if the admission figures are anything to go by, the public can’t get enough of a night out at the big screen. Ireland has consistently achieved the highest cinema going rate per capita in Europe. Admissions in February this year were nearly 1.7million, and audience admission figures for the first quarter of this year showed increases of 38% on last year.

Family films are making a big impact, with the likes of Toy Story 2, Pokemon, and Stuart Little. Dinosaur, due to be released in October, is set to be the block-buster of the summer.

Family films can guarantee a dual audience, with access to children and their parents, rather than just capturing one group. Eithne Ryan, sales controller Ireland, said Advertisers are able to reach a greater number of children and parents within the cinema environment.

Many advertisers, such as L'Oreal, take advantage of the mutual experience of cinema to target children and parents by following big family movies, as well as using kids clubs and holiday matinee packages.

A Bird’s Eye fish fingers campaign aimed at the family market is running during the summer holidays to coincide with these types of films. Siobhan Mitchell, Media Account Manager, Initiative Media, said, “In the case of Fish Fingers, whereas the TV campaign would be used primarily to target children, the cinema ad is ideal for targeting both the children and the decision-maker – that is, the mum or dad.”

Animated movies are always popular with the kids, but advances in technology and story-lines has meant that animation has expanded its appeal. Last year’s South Park for instance was a huge hit with young adults, and the current movie Chicken Run, by Aardman Animation (who have received a cult following with the Wallace and Gromit series), is proving popular with the dual audience.

Attendees of animated films also extend beyond parents and kids to include adults who are venturing in by themselves, without feeling that they have to drag a child in with them. Toy Story and last year’s Toy Story 2 were clear examples of this trend.

“There is also a wide range of films for companies targeting the adult cinema-goer,” Eithne Ryan said. “The first quarter has seen the remarkable Angela’s Ashes, Danny Boyle's The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, plus The Talented Mr Ripley and Gladiator looks set to be a record breaker. The cinema sales industry last year created targeted packages to take advantage of the diverse nature of the film product.”

As audiences increase, the range of brands that are advertising with cinema is also expanding. Previously, the traditional brands ran to alcohol and confectionery, along with a couple of fashion brands. Advertisers with cinema now include telecoms, dotcoms, financial services and more.

Tropicana is a good example of brand that has made the leap to advertising with cinema. Their ad is running from July 28, 2000 with The Perfect Storm, which has topped the US box office in July and stars George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

Sinead Perrott, Marketing Manager, SHS Sales and Marketing, said they chose cinema for the brand as she believes it can provide a targeted audience in a way that is not possible with TV alone.

Also, the brand has a female ABC1 bias, and they focused on this market by running the ad with films that match this profile, like The Next Best Thing starring Madonna and Rupert Everett, and When the Sky Falls, the story of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin.

“There are further plans to run later in the year on screen with cinema foyer sampling of Tropicana,” said Perrott. “Sampling in the foyer will add further weight to the on-screen campaign by reaching people before the movie, and hitting them again as they leave.”

Other ads include a news series by Triumph bras, and ICS Building Society’s innovative spot earlier in the year. Designed by Chemistry, the 30 second spot used dolby surround sound and simple titles to create an impact for the Mortgage Store. It was the first time cinema had been used for the brand.

Volkswagen are also running a campaign, which Paul Moran, managing director, Mediaworks said suited the needs of the brand.

“The target for the Volkswagen campaign is very broad - all potential VW purchasers - but cinema enabled them to fill gaps which arise with TV in certain age groups and multi-channel areas. VW tend to use cinema later in the year when TV is very expensive as cinema is a fairly static cost medium.”

Ireland’s love affair with cinema is good news for cinema advertisers, of course, as packed cinemas means more eyeballs on their ads. The advantage is that the advertiser has a captive audience without any distractions. A consumer cannot read a magazine watching the screen in the same way that could be done for TV for instance.

Brand recall is also higher with cinema, most likely due to limited distractions and only a certain number of ads being run. Research shows that an average of 88% of the audience is present for the full ad reel. This has led to a proven higher recall of brands and ads with cinema than with TV.

The medium also provides an extra depth of communication to a campaign.

Cinema receives 1% of ad spend, which grew from £1 million in 1992 to £4.6 million in 1999.

Lynne Preston

This article originally appeared in IMJ, the Irish Marketing Journal.

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