Cinema advertising. Still worth it?

Cinemas in the UK were forced to close towards the end of Q1 2020, as the government introduced social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But as cinemas start to reopen and prepare for a life post-COVID, it got me thinking about the last time that I went to the cinema where I saw Bond, No Time To Die.

What other format delivers such a primed and engaged audience?

Having been deeply disappointed by the countless delays to No Time To Die, I had been excited for weeks leading up to my first visit to the cinema in over 18 months; excited for the film, sure, but also for the oversized, overpriced bucket of popcorn, the dark anticipation of the theatre, and even the adverts beforehand. Because the adverts and trailers are as much a part of cinema-going as anything else, an intrinsic and necessary part of the experience for as long as any of us have been going to the cinema.

What other format delivers such a primed and engaged audience? I honestly can’t think of one off the top of my head. But then, what with all of the action and adventure in Bond taking up so much space there might not be room for much else!

Let’s try and focus for a moment and take a look at some of the reasons why advertising in the cinema is so effective.

A receptive audience with a positive mindset

The audience wants to be there, they planned to be there, intend to enjoy themselves and are ready for the entertainment, ads and all.

The audience in the cinema is captive and has a high recall

As above, few other formats deliver audiences that are more engaged in the brand messages. While TV has the benefit of frequency, a cinema audience can’t switch over, could hardly avoid the massive, premium screen if they wanted to (or the bass surround), and display better ad recall as a result. Add decent creative to the mix and you have all of the ingredients for a high-performance advert.

Affluent and educated consumers

Obviously, different films attract different audiences, but according to DCM, 77% of the population are cinemagoers and cinema efficiently targets and extends campaign cover against hard-to-reach audiences such as 16-34s, ABC1s, Londoners, dual-viewing families, and men. Cinema is particularly strong with youth audiences - recent Kantar Millward Brown research has revealed that Gen Z's (16-19s) most popular advertising format is cinema, with over half (59%) feeling ‘positive about it’ as an advertising channel.

Target Local Audience

Different locations provide specific location-based audiences. Local ads are targeted, flexible, and affordable, and as a result very suitable for local brands.

So the next time you're at the cinema, look closer. Cinemagoers are some of the most engaged audiences in the media mix. Cinema is special to a lot of people. It's a socially immersive experience that can be shared and with new technology and ever more blockbuster films to come, you might need to buy some more popcorn to get you through it all.

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