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Can cinema successfully lead the advertising schedule?

Cinema can sometimes be an afterthought for marketers. It's that extra "luxury" for advertisers, should they have enough time left to film an extended and more cinematic version of an ad, and of course, spare additional budget, writes Tim Butler, group head at Pearl & Dean.

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When marketers think of cinema, they think of a 60-second creative ad shown on the big screen, with huge impact and great recall. However, the creative thinkers at Pearl & Dean approach it in a very different way. We have become a lot more experiential and a lot less conventional. While we do showcase the great ideas on our big screens, we now also offer a whole range of experiential creative support to the cinema ad.

Are we at the dawn of a new era? We want to show planners that instead of traditional media platforms being supported by the ultimate branding medium, cinema can now be regarded as a lead medium, supported by its more traditional counterparts.

For example, Pearl & Dean worked with Nivea and its Double Effect brand to launch a competition and event surrounding 'Sex & the City'.

The opportunity for consumers was communicated on screen nationally in addition to mirror vinyls, foyer TV, counter cards and presence on both P&D's and Vue Cinemas' websites. A flashy microsite was put together for competition entries and to stream the new TV ad.

Winners took three of their friends for a 'Sex & the City' style night, arriving at the ultra stylish Everyman Cinema to be greeted by champagne and canapes. In various side rooms, there were experts providing beauty treatments such as hair styling and make up tips, while another small screen showed previous episodes of 'Sex & the City' while lucky winners dipped strawberries into a chocolate fountain and sipped on Cosmopolitans. Branding was subtly present throughout again with mirror stickers and ads played out on various flatscreen TVs throughout the cinema. Every winner got to take home a Nivea Goody Bag.

Although this event was only for competition winners, everyone knows how important word of mouth is these days, especially as most people check the internet for reviews of products by real people before purchasing.

The competition had almost 10,000 entries and the opportunity to see the branding in its various formats was in excess of 3.6m cinema goers in Vue cinemas over the six-week build-up period. Most importantly, in support of this cinema campaign, the client utilised press and online to extend reach along with ambient messaging in high street fashion stores; a unique twist on the normal scheduling of cinema to support these mediums. The online elements, which used websites including Marie Claire and Glamour, achieved 17m impressions. Almost 3m women were told about the event through press titles such as Red, Elle, Closer, Heat, Grazia and Marie Claire.

Underlining the reach of the silver screen, the Cinema Advertising Association recently carried out its annual FAME study where it showed that people are more likely to digest an ad in the cinema than on any other medium and arrive at the cinema before a film because they actively choose to view the ads.

When the general public goes to the cinema they are relaxed and receptive to advertising.

What Pearl & Dean does for its clients is communicate to the consumer in an engaging way that supports and enhances the on screen ad. This really isn't possible through most traditional media. Arguably therefore, cinema forms a good starting point for planners in order to tick all the media boxes. Very few media can offer as many touch points to the consumer as cinema -- we can truly offer engagement with all of the five senses. Perhaps one day cinema being considered solely for branding will become a thing of the past.

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