Consumers love brands who love the cinema

MaryLou Costa

From pre-trailer spots to co-branded advertising and on-pack promotions, brands have been tapping into

consumers’ love of the cinema for years in the hope of transferring that love to the brand.

Who doesn’t love going to the cinema? The experience offers so many memories – from summer holiday excursions with mum and dad, to keeping out of trouble as a teenager, to awkward first dates.

The emotional attachment makes it a natural avenue for brands to connect with consumers. But as the world of cinema-related promotions has turned into a sea of brands vying for expensive time and space, it is the really clever brands who have used cinema in an innovative way to win consumers’ love.

Mobile networks O2 and Orange have proven themselves as cinema savvy brands, owning two distinct areas of this space. In O2’s entertainment space, The O2, the main concert arena can be transformed into a giant cinema viewing area, which was used earlier this year to present live 3D cinema screenings of the 6 Nations rugby matches. The brand declared the move a massive success, with 90% of all available tickets snapped up in advance of general release by O2 customers, in line with the general perk of being an O2 customer where tickets to any O2 event are pre-released 24 hours in advance to those lucky blue bill holders.

O2 customer director Tim Sefton spoke at Marketing Week Live last month about O2’s strategy of making brand ’fans’ out of its consumers. It wants to add another million to its current fanbase of five million of its 20 million customers within the next 18 months.

O2 has identified fans as those who respond higher than average to customer service surveys, among other metrics. But no doubt its link to The O2 makes fans out of its consumers and converts ambivalence into real love to make you never want to change mobile providers.

Rival Orange has made itself synonymous with cinema through its longstanding Orange Wednesdays campaign, and consequently synonymous with fun. It is taking further advantage of this through its new Movie Mates online video show, using its link to cinema to create brand engagement, empathy and loyalty – and ultimately, brand fans.

In my colleague Lucy Handley’s feature about the potential of brand/cinema partnerships, Jeremy Playle from DCM, the joint venture between Cineworld and Odeon, reveals that the complete digitalisation of the cinema world over the next 18 months will allow “exhibitors to act more like programmers and optimise their layout as they would a TV schedule…and be far more reactive to the product that is available or to audience trends, which they can’t do at the moment.”

So what will this mean for brands in terms of how they can use a cinema partnership or promotion to create ’fans’? Will this evolution pave the way for a new set of cinema savvy brands to take this crown away from leaders O2 and Orange?

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