The big hits at the UK box office last year were Casino Royale and Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Millions of people made trips to the cinema to see these films, providing cinema advertisers with large, attractive audiences.
To help marketers target more accurately the key audiences relevant for their brands, 2006 saw the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) revitalise and rebrand the 23-year-old Cinema and Video Industry Audience Research (Caviar) study to Film Audience Measurement and Evaluation (Fame).
The new online study of 3,000 cinema goers, undertaken by TNS Media, changed the methodology and scope of the project. It also provides brand teams with a new level of insight and understanding of how to engage cinema goers through different marketing media.
For the first time, the CAA, including both Pearl & Dean and Carlton Screen Advertising, is able to look at three levels of film genre information. They investigate cinema goers by their favourite genres as well as other genres they enjoy and the genre of the film they last went to see.
Sci-fi and horror are much more likely to be chosen as a favourite genre than simply one that people enjoy, while 78% of women enjoy watching horror, sci-fi, thriller, war, fantasy or action films.
This suggests that cinema goers actually have a broader repertoire of film genres than might be imagined, thus creating more scope for marketers to target their buying audience.
The study shows that cinema is still highly rated and is enjoyed by 91% of people surveyed, compared with 89% for TV, 85% for restaurants and 51% for the theatre. This demonstrates the value of cinema as a forum for brand or product communication – but this data allows us to dig deeper.
Going to the cinema is seen as an escape from everyday life (cited by 43% of respondents) or as a change, something different to do (45%). For advertisers, this indicates that cinema goers are likely to be more alert and receptive to marketing messages than in other environments. Specifically in relation to TV, the cinema audiences see themselves as more involved, stimulated, engaged and focused but less distracted, passive or bored.
Unlike previous studies into the impact of cinema advertising, the Fame study looks in detail at advertising surrounding cinema goers and compares this to advertising elsewhere. Cinema advertising is seen by many as an integral part of the cinema-going experience and 35% of people say cinema would be worse without advertising.
If you compare this to 20% saying the same for TV and 11% for radio, then it is clear there is a level of acceptance around cinema advertising not found in other media. People also claim to pay more attention to advertisements in the cinema than those on other platforms.
The average cinema goer spends 20 minutes in and around the foyer, so there is plenty of opportunity for effective marketing. Life-size cut-out characters in particular are effective: 64% of people notice these and 80% thought they were effective. Toilet advertising is another effective channel as 57% of people visit the cinema toilet and 38% claim to notice posters there – and 55% believe these are effective.
Another area to be exploited by marketers is the unique ability cinemas offer to cover many different angles.
Sticking with the free gifts for a moment, 77% of those who noticed the free gifts and thought they were effective usually also watch the advertisements before the film – so placing a product in the foyer before and after the screening and then tying that directly to an on-screen advertisement would be very effective.
For the first time, Fame is able to look at the different occasions that make up a typical cinema visit. Cinema is predominately seen as a night out (30%) but it is also often chosen on the ‘spur of the moment’ (26%).
Marketers can obtain insight into peoples’ activities before and after going to the cinema: that three-quarters of people don’t just go to the cinema and then go straight home, that one-third go for a drink or to a restaurant as part of their trip, while a quarter take in shopping trips.
The Fame data shows clearly there are many different marketing routes available in the cinema environment and that the average cinema goer is very receptive to these.
So, it is up to advertisers and agencies to take full advantage of these opportunities and maximise the potential of the cinema space.
Graeme Griffiths, managing consultant at TNS Media, contributed to this week’s Trends Insight