Warc, 2 May 2014
LONDON: Cinema advertisers are exploring ways to tap into changing consumer behaviour, with a particular focus on how they can exploit the shift to digital and mobile.
According to Simon Rees, CEO of Digital Cinema Media (DCM), the specialist advertising firm, cinema needs to be "screen agnostic", although the film itself remains "sacrosanct".
He explained to The Drum that cinema provides for uniquely immersive experiences. "Engagement is very high and impact is very high," he said.
During the recession, however, brands tended to neglect this aspect of the movie-going tradition, eschewing big ideas in their advertising to focus on offers and promotions instead.
Rees maintained that this trend is now changing, as film fans are seeking to extend the cinema experience through their mobile phones.
Accordingly, DCM has developed an app allowing brands to engage with the trend towards "second screening", pushing content to viewers whose phones – switched to silent, of course – picked up a sonic message from the cinema screen.
He cited the example of BMW, the automaker, as a brand that had found an innovative way to utilise this technology.
When its ad appeared on the screen, viewers were asked to choose the best driving line, braking and acceleration points using the app, with the best performers being invited to a track day.
Cinema, Rees added, "is a very modern, agile, digital environment" thanks to new technological developments. "Brands are gradually waking up to that opportunity," he continued.
Nor are these developments restricted to the auditorium alone, as the foyer has become increasingly digitised, and consumers can get trailers for new films by scanning posters there.
"Rather than having a cluttered foyer, which it might have been historically, we're now looking at how the consumer engages throughout the whole of the cinema experience," said Rees.
After a disappointing 2013, when cinema adspend fell by 14.5% to £184m in the UK, the outlook is rather brighter for the next two years.
The latest data from The Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report indicate that cinema advertising expenditure is set to rise in both 2014 (+5.4%) and 2015 (+6.9%).
Data sourced from The Drum, Cineworld; additional content by Warc staff