Cinema adspend is on an upward trajectory. Torie Henderson, CEO of Omnicom Group Singapore, points out that although cinema attendances were down due to consumers pulling back discretionary spend during the downturn, she has seen minor growth (1.7 per cent) from her research on the top 100 advertisers spending on cinema.
Ashish Bhasin, Asia-Pacific director of Posterscope, has also noticed this growth. “There is certainly a trend forming and advertisers are looking at the cinema with greater interest,” he says. “More data has been made available and cinema chains are waking up to the possibilities and providing the numbers. Cinemas are also becoming more flexible to the type of branding and marketing opportunities they can get into.”
Cinema’s ability to deliver a stable audience makes it relevant and a medium that planners and buyers should readily consider in their media mix, in the opinion of Andreas Vogiatzakis, MD of Omnicom Group Malaysia. But the problem for many media agency executives is that advertisers are not experimenting enough with the medium to leverage its creative capabilities.
In the year ahead, Jimmy Lim, executive director at Mindshare Singapore, recommends that clients, such as those from the FMCG industry, should consider “tryvertising” to acquaint cinemagoers with their products. “This can be done by putting samples in a special slot in the back of the seats,” he says. “I think advertisers should dial up the interaction by getting the viewers to SMS their data instantly in exchange for gifts or prizes. Advertisers should also take advantage of the waiting areas where viewers gather for a good period before entering the halls. Branded or sponsored spaces and amenities would be great utilities to audiences.”
Henderson agrees that cinema advertising has to revolve around the halls and surrounding spaces such as the ticketing counter, seats and even toilet spaces. “It should be more around the ambient ideas in the cinema hall itself,” she says, pointing to work Omnicom did for the National Council Against Drug Abuse, which partnered with local cinema operators to reach out to youths who were at risk of experimenting with glue sniffing.
Another recent execution was PHD Singapore’s work for the Health Promotion Board to engage and educate male blue-collar HIV sufferers on the dangers of high-risk sexual behaviour. “We produced a low-budget educational vignette and screened it at Yangtze Cinema, a local theatre famed for showing restricted movies and frequented by older, blue-collar males. This sought to captivate the audience and deliver the message in the most effective way,” says Henderson.
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This article was originally published in the 14 January 2010 issue of Media.