Anyone ever used movie theater slideshow advertising?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by steve_c.|5, May 17, 2009.

  1. The slideshows they use to promote local businesses in the movie theaters between shows...have you ever used this to promote your wedding photography business? How did it work?
  2. I've thought about it; just for a minute or two and I haven't and don't think I will. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wonder if the audience is comprised of many who may not be needing my services? This will depend on the movie but at this juncture I would rather spend my few resources on avenues that get the most eye balls of B&G's getting married.
  3. Yes, I have, but not for photography. The ad shows on all screens before the movie starts. It's been awhile, but I think the saturation was a couple of thousand a day when I used a 10 theater location. You can also, at least when I did it, use up to three different ads (slides) that will rotate through.
  4. Rich, how did that work for you, and what sort of business was the ad about?
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    What are the demographics of movie-goers in your market? That really matters. And can you pick your movies?

    There's a good source of data here.
  6. Steve, if you could find a movie theater full of brides to be who have just been proposed to, then I think that it's a FANTASTIC Idea! However, your information, your brand goes out to people who will probably stare at it as blankly as I do, or more to the point, which advertisers do you remember from the last time you were at the movies? If you can 1. name more than 3, and 2. tell me how much business you've sent their way, then I say ..............maybe.
    Our business is a service, for those involved a once in a lifetime service (okay for 50% of them), if they aren't looking at the time for your work, then IMHO your marketing dollars are just going to waste. Rather, look for a bridal section of a local newspaper, or perhaps offer pictures from your weddings, with a little write up by you about the couple, the event and so forth. I wouldn't expect a dime for your time, but if the paper has the space, it might be willing to allow a freelance Photojournalist some space in their arts/living section to liven up the local content, and THAT...long time coming, sorry, THAT may well get your work/name/brand out to a larger group with minimal outlay of $$ on your part.
  7. Some friends of mine did in our local "small town" movie theater. I never got around to asking them how it went.
    I think it's a fine idea overall, as long as the price is right. You are no more or less likely to grab your target market in a movie theater than you are in a newspaper, and photographers have been advertising in newspapers forever. Then again, now that I think about it, you might actually have a better chance of targeting brides in a movie theater than you would in a newspaper. As single/childless people might be more likely to actually have the time and money to go to the movies.
  8. It was a couple of things. One was a church. One was a pizza shop. I wasn't advertising myself, I was doing the graphic work for others. But if I remember right, it was about a grand or so, but the ads ran for six months. Every day, every movie, before every show. The thing to me is are people going to write down the information or just let it blow by them. If it's important enough and the ad is good looking enough, I think it can catch their interest.
  9. I'm an established wedding/portrait photographer in my area, so I'm no newbie. I don't operate a studio location, but like any business, I'm constantly having to reinvent myself and my message, and stay in front of the public, keeping my name out there. I've thought often when I go to the movies about whether a few beautiful and dynamic images splashed up there with my logo, web address, and the words "Weddings" "Portraits" etc. would bring in more business.
    I certainly think it's preferable to newspaper ads, which are prohibitively expensive (to get one big enough), black and white (mostly) low resolution/quality, and not at ALL targeted (save for the bridal section). And as long as you have an easy to remember website address, you might have some retention after folks leave.
    I'm researching prices in my area, and if they're not hideously expensive, I might give it a try. I'd still love to hear from someone who's done it for a photography business, and much thanks for the comments so far!
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, but not recently. It worked well. There are many factors to consider. On the face of it not having a physical studio location will limit somewhat the effectiveness - my initial thoughts only and based on supposition, gut feel and the types of businesses which stayed and those which left after a short time - but that was several years ago - if that helps any?
    Yes, now too, and it still works: but, as I think you are sharp enough to already know, I no longer own a Photography Studio, but we do have physical sales locations. The advertising is for a group, which brings the prospects to all of us. It is not cheap.
    I have not used newspaper advertising for years. I am strongly anti it. That opinion might be wrong, though.
    An exceptionally interesting question.
    I honestly do not think I would have thought this way at all if I were reinventing myself in the Wedding Photography Business. I would have thought it was passé – but that would have been a big mistake. One should list all the possibilities and variables, first, investigate and then edit.
    I am exceptionally interested to recieve your conclusions: yes that is a request and only if it so pleases you, thanks.

  11. I haven't seen it and would have a couple of concerns. I don't go to too many movies in theaters anyways, I'm predisposed to doing other things. Movies can be expensive compared to some of the alternatives. The snacks aren't cheap, the tickets aren't all that cheap, the experience isn't always that good. Chatty people, kids fooling around, sound quality issues - often too loud. Then having gotten there a bit early, crawled through the "crowds" for the 10 other screens, and having set aside enough time to get there and get a good set of seats, you get to watch the inane trivia contests, ads about the theater and it's kid's parties, etc., etc. Then you get the whole string again. Then you get the whole string again. They may or may not fully dim the lights during the ads.
    What I think might be the biggest risk? Poor quality! The film strips may be faded, damaged, scratched, lighting is bad, and focus is often very poorly handled. As a photographer, you are selling "perfect" visual results. Yet the images provided may not be perfect. That's probably OK for the chiropractor's ads or the discount furniture warehouse, but will it "work" for a photographer to see repeated low performance images?
  12. I've made contact with my local ad rep for the movies in this city. It's not cheap. A 4-week minimum proposal would run me around $1300. This would place three different ad images in a continous slideshow that would run between each and every film showing in a 20 screen theater. Each ad image would run at least once between shows, so you'd have three separate impressions every intermission. This campaign would run for one month.
    You'd certainly get a lot of exposure that way, but I have really no way of knowing if this would be $1300 invested or $1300 wasted, without trying it at least once.
    For $2300, I could hit the 20 screen theater and a 5 screen theater across town for 2 months, same ad strategy.
    Sure, if you booked 10 or 20 weddings out of it, it might pay off. I guess that's the great unknown about advertising with something like this.
  13. By the way, this isn't a digital theater, and they use slide projectors, not digital projectors. So what Craig says about quality is definitely an issue. They're dim, dusty, sometimes crooked, etc. And, there's always the problem of projectionists who might load one backwards or upside down!
  14. Don't know about the US, but this is how it works in the UK:
    Movie advertising is successful for businesses that are (i) located near the cinema; (ii) offer something as an extension of the cinema experience. Penetration is pretty shallow from a movie slide so typically success is higher for products that are impulse buys, available within a few minutes of the film ending, and that tap into basic needs.
    The success rate is quite easy to detect as a cinema goer -- the adverts that run and run from one week to the next are the ones that are bringing in the business. The ones you never see again failed.
    Anecdotally (I've conducted no surveys!) the cinemas I've been to are full of adverts for local restaurants or entertainment complexes. Zero for professional services.
    Make of that what you will :)
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Movie advertising is successful for businesses that are (i) located near the cinema; (ii) offer something as an extension of the cinema experience."
    I agree with point (i), I have marketing data to back that up.
    I challenge point (ii), as a fact, as it seems by the latter commentary it is merely an extrapolation based upon what type of advertising is displayed, at cinemas, in your area – do you reference data in regard to point (ii)?

    “Penetration is pretty shallow from a movie slide so typically success is higher for products that are impulse buys, available within a few minutes of the film ending, and that tap into basic needs. The success rate is quite easy to detect as a cinema goer -- the adverts that run and run from one week to the next are the ones that are bringing in the business. The ones you never see again failed.”

    Agree about shallow penetration from slides. Disagree about the conclusion that it is therefore only successful on an impulse buy at the end of the movie.
    Disagree about the method for deciding what was successful, or not.
  16. William - as I indicated, my remarks on cinema advertising are purely anecdotal experience. Please don't think I'm presenting it as anything else. But, as far as observations go, it's based on some evident trends reflected in my locality.
    Advertising that is unsuccessful against the campaign it was supporting is not cost-effective and therefore gets pulled. If you accept that premise then it follows that advertising that you see over an extended period is meeting some form of success criteria. So I conclude that advertising I see in my area (and that's been there in one form or another for several years) must be working.
    Then I ask what kinds of things they're advertising. And it's mostly places to eat, drink or be entertained. Then I ask what they have in common. And it's that they're all within 1 minute walk of the cinema. And then some basic observation tells me people are hungry, thirsty, or have a desire to continue the evening elsewhere after they've seen a film.
    Those basic advert characteristics also tap into businesses that address fairly basic needs - hunger, comfort etc - and are low cost and offer immediate gratification. Remarkably close to the cost of a cinema ticket, and only a few moments away in time. And, as we know, affordability and availability are two conditions that underpin impulse buys.
    And then I ask what I've rarely seen advertised in a cinema. And it's businesses that offer complex products, that are not in the immediate vicinity, and that require evaluative and sustained decision-making on behalf of the buyer.
    Hence I draw my conclusions - be they right or wrong :)
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “are purely anecdotal experience”

    It was unclear to me when I read your post, whether (or not) the first two points detailed in your second paragraph were a stand alone statement or if they were linked to paragraphs three, four and five.
    In those last three paragraphs it was quite clear to me your commentary was: anecdotal; personal; and locale specific.
    I was merely investigating and seeking your clarification – as well as making my comments on same. It was not a prickle – just seeking clarification - I am certainly not on about being right or wrong.
    Thank you for the clarification.
    In regards to the advertising working (or not), in your local experiences: I follow your premise and your line of thinking, and, as abroad brush synopsis, I agree.
    I add: there are other variables. IMO, the major one being – if they are small, local retail businesses doing the advertising with a suburban cinema chain, likely the business owners have not been sufficiently educated in what type of advertising this is; and what lead time is necessary; and how there are two types of advertisements presented, the static slides are quite specific.
    The employees charged with static slides sales of the companies selling advertising space at major cinema chains here, IME: are unskilled at selling; ill-informed of the product they are selling; paid largely on commission; and stay in the gig for about 15 weeks.
    The “static slides” seems to be a “gap filler”. The main game is the 2 minute Movie Advertising – that’s where the skill and knowledge is focussed. This might be the same in the UK, I dunno.
    I note that in your area the advertising thread to the impulse purchase – I understand that – it is here too, but not exclusively in all cinemas. The local independently owned cinemas have an entirely approach.
    They target local community services and product businesses as their major trawl, their agents are very motivated and informed and will spend time. There is still small percentage of the static ads being the local wine bar, for example, when one would kick on after the movie.
    One of the strategies for these cinema operators is local community synergy – this is a strategy which might be the saviour for many small businesses, I dunno if a community synergy applies to your cinemas.
    All these factors might, or might not apply to Steve’s business, or in your area.
  18. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The local independently owned cinemas have an entirely approach.
    should read:
    The local independently owned cinemas have an entirely different approach.
  19. William, I take your points. I wish there were small, independent, community-focused cinemas in the UK but sadly they're almost all gone. Most independents have been bought out by the multiplexes. And with it has gone the kind of targeted advertising you've described. Our loss, I'm sure.
  20. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Yes. I think this general point is more important than whether the slide is dirty - or not. (taken just as an example).
    I think the local socioeconomic functionality / interaction of the cinema complex Steve is considering is important - (there has to be technical name for that?), lest his ads will be lost in a mish-mash.
    I am glad for him, that these issues have been flushed out.
  21. A few factors to note here about the whole notion of cinema ads.
    1) Cinemas are hurting financially here in the US. Ticket prices have soared, concession prices are simply absurd, and the prevalance of the cheap or easily rented DVD (and Blu-Ray to a lesser extent) are keeping audiences at home, waiting on the new films to hit their local stores or arrive in their mailbox via Netflix. Many of the cinemas have resorted to pricey ad campaigns for local businesses to try and shore up their monthly expenses. I can't imagine what the overhead costs are for a 20 screen cineplex, but I'm sure the electricity bill alone would choke several horses.
    2) A local wedding and portrait photographer (mostly portrait) who's kinda pricey has rented a wall right outside our AMC20 that's about 20 feet wide. On it, he's placed several framed artworks and has brochure pockets mounted on the wall on either side. I don't know if this ad campaign is paying off for him, but he pays $600 a month for the privilege (so the mall marketing consultant told me). He's had the display up there over a year. He gets every pair of eyeballs who wander past headed for the movies or while shopping.
    3) There may be a strategy in the theater system that high prices for projected ads will keep out the rif-raf and ensure that only serious businesses are featured. The problem is that according to the ad rep, it's hard for them to nail down ROI figures with merchants, because many are not set up in a way that they can capture that data or ascertain how many paying clients they got from the campaign. Most of these are brick and mortar stores and simply cannot quiz everyone on whether they came in because of the ad. Conversely, I always talk in depth with clients and always ask how they came to call on me, so I could track it better.
    In our cineplex I see ads for personal injury attorney firms, local civic organizations, campaigns for city projects or outreach programs, car dealerships, etc. The attorneys are most likely to have good data on where their clients came to them from. I may call around and inquire.
    To me, if the cineplex wants to get more ads and stimulate local business (and therefore their own), they need to switch to digital projection, offer lower and more flexible rate plans, and do a better job of promoting. With slides, they simply load up the carrousels with paying ad slides and stick them in each theater to run for a whole month. With digital projection, they could develop custom ad campaigns with starter programs, so merchants can "test the water". There would be no film costs to produce physical slides, any decent resolution JPEG would work. Merchants could then lower costs by selecting specific theaters and times for their ads to run (our cineplex has theaters inside ranging from big to small). Slideshows could be easily customized by theater staff, based on each campaign. And, there would be no dusty, dim, or upside down slides to contend with.
    My thoughts anyway.
  22. Update: Now that I've informed the ad rep that the campaign is too expensive, she's sending me better quotes! Apparently these things are negotiable! Might be in the cards after all.
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

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