Thursday, September 9, 2010

Movie Theater Advertising - What's Missing?

For some reason my partner makes us go to a movie when they’re still cleaning the theater from the previous screening. We’re there before even the trivia and stuff starts, often taking those first few mouthfuls of greasy popcorn to the sound of an Electrolux.

The other night when the trivia and endless trailers did get going, I started thinking about the promotional canvas before me – one very large screen as the focal point of my attention. The only other mode of amusement was of course my phone.

Promotion after promotion, ad after ad – and all of this after the 10 minutes or so of looping trivia that is no less than promotions for upcoming theatrical releases.

Let’s face it, it’s a great captive audience and guess what, you’re targeting moviegoers and consumers with a reasonable amount of disposable income - $11 popcorn anyone?

Here’s where it fails.

Through countless minutes of commercials of various sorts, not once was there any call out to pick up my cell phone and simply send a text – to get something. Here, advertisers have a captive audience, with the biggest, baddest screen at their creative disposal, 3D, IMAX, 24-speaker Digital Surround Sound, Smellorama, - the sensory candy astounds.

Advertisers have all this incredible power to capture an audience and close the deal and the closest call to action was a URL or two at the end of a couple of the promotional clips. Here is where advertisers are thinking in the box and only focusing on the creative and the medium it was created for - not the core business objective. And let’s face it folks, in our beloved capitalist culture, is all about selling things – stuff, experiences, ideas, values and opinions.

In today’s world of fragmented audiences and media access practically anytime or anywhere, promotional creative should always have a hook around an offer that’s relevant to the audience and the environment. There needs to be the ask…and an ask in return for something of perceived value.

Here’s how it pans out.

Coke runs one of their big budget :60s in theaters. Somewhere in the ad…and I’m not talking a ticker tape or super at the end of the spot, but threaded throughout the spot’s narrative, there are repeated calls to text a short code…to enter to win, to get a clue, to get a bar code that can be redeemed at the refreshment counter for a deal – you get the idea. Think billboards, taxi tops, store windows, guys in gorilla suits…oh the possibilities! It could be low-budget too…with the text-to-get-something calls to action embedded within the trivia game – before all the ads even start. And it could be a simple super at the end of the spot too…it would be a start.

To me, what’s being created out there now is just thinking inside the box…a very big box, no less, with the biggest, baddest screen at their creative disposal, 3D, IMAX, 24-speaker Digital Surround Sound, Smellorama and popcorn that costs the same as a filet mignon – popcorn bags…great place for a text-to-win, don’t you think?

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