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How to manage cinema promotions

How to manage cinema promotions

By David Pearson (pictured), director at Filmology


It is often difficult to find an idea for a sales promotion that will reach and engage people of all ages and tastes.


Cinema promotions can – they are one of the most flexible promotional rewards.


From counting down the top 100 films of all time and predicting the winners of the Oscars, to following the exploits of the rich and famous in celebrity news pages, the cinema industry has a great ‘chat-factor’ that keeps people interested.


It is always in the news and, with frequent new releases, is continually changing and fresh. It is this combination of visibility, popularity, flexibility and glamour that has made the cinema the feature of a range of sales promotions.


Bulk cinema ticket offers, exclusive screenings and previews and film merchandising opportunities are just a few examples of the types of rewards and incentives that can be offered as part of a sales promotion and experiential campaigns, corporate entertainment events, client hospitality and gifts, as well as employee engagement programmes.


The potential in this market is huge and, with the right organisation and management, a cinema promotion can prove to have a lasting and profitable impact.


What other type of sales promotion delivers an ever-changing product that keeps up to date with the latest trends in popular culture?


Whether it’s an explosive action thriller, a quirky English comedy, a Bollywood musical, a biographical epic or a children’s animation, there is a film to fit every possible promotional brief.


Choosing the right film to associate with your brand is essential. Most movies will have a marketing plan that identifies their target audience so matching the brief of the brand to the brief of the film is the first step.


Consider the brand values that you want to promote and seek a film that matches up.


Bertolli, the makers of traditional Italian olive oils and pasta sauces utilised the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ when they rebranded from Olivio.


The rustic Italian setting of the film and the traditional way of life that it depicted provided an ideal link with the image of healthy living and fresh produce that Bertolli branding aims to project.


Another good example of a well-placed film promotion is Eurostar’s association with ‘The Da Vinci Code’ as we see the film’s protagonists on a race against time across an Anglo-French backdrop.


The promotional opportunities that Eurostar gained from its association with a film that was highly relevant to its market were extremely varied and gained a great deal of coverage to promote the brand.


As you can see from the Bertolli example, it is not just blockbusters that are suitable to run promotions against. Imagine if you had been associated with the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ or ‘The Blair Witch Project’ before anyone had realised the huge success that each film would become.


Working with a company that knows the film industry inside out will grant the kind of insight that could see a brand being associated with a hit out of nowhere.


Smaller films are also commonly more relevant for promotions that are aimed at a very specific target market as they often deal with more specialist areas of interest that could match your branding values.


A dedicated cinema promotions agency will not only have the experience and contacts within the industry to target a cinema promotion accurately, but will also ensure that all logistics, research, administration, delivery and management issues are handled professionally.


This is a specialist and complicated area that requires expert management from people who know what they are doing.


Many films will have stringent guidelines and boundaries on what is acceptable and the type of promotions with which they are willing to be associated.


Negotiating approval for your brand to become part of the film’s promotional campaign can be tricky and often very restrictive so using a specialist agency is essential.


There is no doubt that a trip to the cinema has a high perceived value for people in the UK due to the experience that it offers and the popularity of going to the cinema, but cinema promotions do not have to be costly affairs.


There are various ways to structure a promotion to keep it within budget without losing any of its glamour or appeal.


Fixed fee solutions mean that you will only pay a fixed rate for the whole campaign to ensure that costs do not escalate with problems such as over or under redemption.


The number of prizes available can be as few or as much as the budget can stretch to but this will have no effect on the excitement and appeal that a carefully planned publicity campaign can generate.


There are many cost-reducing methods of delivering a high impact cinema promotion and a good promotions agency will be able to get the most out of your budget.


The cinema is one medium that will not lose its appeal since there will always be something out there that your audience will want to watch, which makes for great and varied promotional opportunities.

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