Let your imagination loose on the bright lights of cinema promotions.
We look at five ways your brand can dazzle, to attract and retain customers using latest Mintel Report research.
There’s no business like show business, right? It’s an oldie but still a goodie, yet the same can be said of the silver screen – even when it comes to marketing your business.
It seems cinema is still captivating audiences across the country. And marketers in the know are getting in on the act. According to Sodexo’s ‘The Reel Deal’ report, brands that play to the bright lights of cinema promotions have a lot to gain.
The latest Mintel Report tells us that today’s audiences still have a passion for film and it’s not going to abate any time soon – cinema admissions were still very much on the rise in 2017.
It shows that as a nation, we’re all still in love with the big screen experience, regardless of how many TV box set obsessions we might all have. Stranger Things have, indeed happened.
In fact, cinema is still totally front of house when it comes to boosting customer engagement and driving brand awareness up and off that cliff, Thelma and Louisa style. Nobody is going to get hurt, but the impact is to create pretty awe-inspiring stuff.
So, if you haven’t thought about cinema promotions until now, it’s time to change up the listings.
The question is, what’s your big ticket marketing idea going to be?
Here are a few promotional ideas to entice you to the edge of your seats…
1. GIVE YOUR PRODUCT THE RED CARPET TREATMENT
According to the Mintel Report, two in three people visited the cinema last year, including 87% of 16-34 year olds – a segment of society that’s traditionally hard to reach.
That’s a startling number. If you can tie your product into a cinema launch that’s already got everyone buzzing on social media and beyond, so much the better.
One of the biggest grossing films of 2017 was a live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Emma Watson brought feisty heroine Belle to life, making it the talk of playgrounds across the country. It helped that the film was part of a franchise of live action remakes of well-known fairy tales, so consumers were booking their cinema tickets faster than you could say Rumpelstiltskin.
In fact, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ended up topping the UK box office at £67 million, making it the highest grossing film of 2017.
We certainly weren’t at all surprised, and it was good news for Persil, another well-known reliable household name that was quick to spot a marketing opportunity when they saw one.
Persil sold 1.9 million promotional packs, each including a £5 Disney store voucher. A nice touch and ideal for getting in front of busy parents who simply can’t put the washing machine on enough.
The promotion came up smelling of roses, with Disney being glad to promote their film and their stores to hard-to-reach audiences. And Persil cleaned up in sales and brand awareness. A flawless idea, but just goes to show you that a little creativity can truly bring brand partnerships and cinema promotions to life.
Jennifer King, Senior Brand Manager for Persil at Unilever UK, said: “With the chance to redeem a £5 Disney voucher with every pack of Persil Capsules, shoppers really can take home the magic of Disney, as well as beautifully transforming their clothes with the cleaning power of Persil Capsules.” A squeaky clean product tie-in, if ever we saw one.
2. MASTER YOUR INNER MINION
No, we don’t know what this means either, but it sounds fun. Despicable Me 3 was a stonking hit in 2017, proving that sequels and movie franchises carry a lot of collateral for brands seeking a strong opportunity to attract new customers.
As we’ve seen, licensed promotional merchandise opportunities that align brands with the latest film de jour, can pay big dividends. Not only can you catapult your brand awareness into the next stratosphere, you can pretty much dance fight your competitors all the way to the bank.
According to the Mintel Report, 21% of parents with children aged five and under, said the last film they saw at the cinema was a sequel or part of a franchise. The adults know what to expect, and so to do their little darlings. Everyone’s a winner.
To prove the point, Toy Story 4 is due out in 2019. Just as you thought that toy-riffic franchise had come to an end, right? The question is, will they stop there or go to infinity and beyond?!
BFI research also suggests that the force is strong in sequels. In 2016, sequels and franchise films made up 17 of the all-time top 20 films, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the highest grossing film of all time in the UK, with box office earnings of over £122 million.
Paul Parry, Head of Filmology at Sodexo says, “If you’re a brand manager or marketer that has had experience with a particular title before and you know your brand aligns well with that film due to its values, content and audience, it’s a safe bet.”
Bring your brand to a well-loved movie franchise and your next promotion will be so good it’ll be seriously bad. Well, that’s what Gru from Despicable Me would say, anyway.
3. NICHE MARKET? LOOK TO THE INDEPENDENTS
If your brand is less mainstream attracting a more discerning customer, there’s something in film promotions for you too. The Mintel report says that interest in independent cinema is growing in popularity.
The Everyman chain which operates 20 cinemas across the UK is planning to open another 25 new ones across the country over the next four years. That’s a massive coup for film lovers far and wide. In fact, Everyman reported a 45% rise in box office takings this year, a rise of £9m on the previous year!
So, what can your niche brand do to harness the power of independent film?
Premium chocolate brand Godiva certainly knows how it’s done. In September 2017, Godiva tied up a 12 week partnership with Everyman Cinemas, called ‘Midweek Masterpieces’. The brand awareness campaign ran alongside a film promotion and supporting marketing material that led with the line ‘Chocolate Never Felt So Good.’
Cinema goers were treated to a complimentary luxury box of Godiva chocolates when they purchased a cinema ticket on a Wednesday night. It was a tasty success.
Sarah Horowitz, Head of Marketing at brand owner Pladis said, “it’s just such a captive audience so people are a lot more likely to buy. There’s this era of double stacking, where people have the TV on while logging onto Facebook and several other things. In the cinema, they are completely engaged with the content on the screen…”.
Pladis plans to use cinema to grow last year’s £2.2 billion global sales to £3.2 billion by 2019. That’s certainly got our attention. We won’t be the only ones licking our lips in anticipation about this marketing activity.
4. BRAND PARTNERSHIPS THAT GET INTO CHARACTER
Film promotions can be as bold as you want them to be. You just need the right level of insight to know which film will contain the right opportunities.
For Manchester United, the release of the latest Wolverine offering, ‘Logan’, was the perfect time to tie striker Wayne Rooney in with promotional footage bearing the line ‘Heroes become legends’.
Action is the most popular film genre, with more than a third of cinema goers (36%) watching an action movie last time they visited the cinema, including 42% of male viewers, according to the Mintel Report.
Its popularity as a genre was one reason the football giant leaped at the opportunity to promote their club in this way. It’s a promotional partnership that almost writes itself. And it certainly scored big when it came to generating social media buzz, receiving a whopping 2.2k retweets. It’s customer engagement that’s literally thinking outside of the penalty box.
Meanwhile, EDF was another brand that did its homework when it came to promotional campaigns in 2017. As part of its ‘Pretty Curious’ campaign, the energy supplier was able to reach a young female audience via cinema and encourage them to look at scientific careers at school.
By forging a partnership with Lucasfilm and Disney to tie in with ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the brand could draw a link between one of the film’s characters, Rose, who is a maintenance technician with the Resistance, as a perfect, and relatable, role model for its audience. It was a smart move to attract smart girls.
It just goes to show that if you delve a little deeper, you can create some brilliant associations between your brand and the characters that come alive on the big screen. Now that’s what we call a promotional mix with brains.
5. A FANTASTICAL WORLD OF LASTING REWARDS
If you’re seeking novel ways to reward your customers or thank them for their loyalty, cinema tickets are a great way to go.
Customer loyalty programmes always need injecting with a new lease of life from time to time and a ticket to the cinema can delight and surprise consumers with long lasting effects.
If you partner with a cinema and choose to use cinema tickets as giveaways via on-pack promotions or through your website, you can create customer engagement that resonates across all the age groups. And that means bums on seats and very happy customers, thank you very much.
Paul Parry, Head of Filmology says, “for £10-12 worth of investment, brands can deliver an experience that is worth so much more. You’re offering an experience – a whole night out – if you reward your customers with a cinema ticket. Compare that to trips to New York, for example – there are only so many of those that will fit the budget – but for a relatively low investment, brands can give every customer the opportunity to claim something of real value.”
It’s easy enough to implement cinema promotions. A good engagement solutions company will even be able to help you organise the promotional fulfilment of tickets and promotional mechanics too.
Take it one step further and consider a promotional competition where you can send lucky winners off on money-can’t-buy red carpet experience, like MasterCard did. The credit card brand randomly selected 500 winners each week from their loyal customer set. That’s a lot of winners and a lot of brand engagement.
BRING OUT YOUR INNER FILM BUFF
When it comes to film promotion ideas, as with the Star Wars franchise, the choices are practically endless. If you’re feeling inspired after reading this, we feel the same. It’s enough to make us go all Karate Kid again and kick that next marketing plan into the new realms of marketing success.
One thing’s for sure, the future for cinema is beaming brighter than a brand new light sabre. Bring this exciting world to your customers and you’ll be on to showstopping business success.