Company's Ads Go To The Movies

National Cinema Network has come a long way from its origins as a rudimentary advertising program in movie theaters, beginning with onscreen slides. Now its advertising ventures are taking full advantage of the platforms it has available. Digital surround sound. Multiple viewing opportunities from inside the theater to the concession stand and even out the door.

Don't forget the opportunity to associate your brand with Hollywood's hottest flicks.

The Kansas City, Mo., company has 11,600 screens throughout the United States, about a third of the nation's moviegoing audience at AMC, National Amusements, Marcus Theatres and Pacific Theatres.

NCN's Laura Adler says the audiences that go to movies aren't always heavy consumers of other media. They're primarily 18 to 49 but aren't steady consumers of newspapers or TV, with a high level of education and income.

But Nielsen Media Research commissioned by NCN found that recall for its "Pre-Show Countdown," a two- to three-minute advertising pod that runs before the movie's scheduled start time, is nearly 80% -- three to four times that of TV ads.



"When you're able to reach the audience and know that your audience is going to remember it, it's a great way to know that your dollars being used well," Adler says.

It's no wonder. Except for the people who leave to pick up soda or popcorn, it's a captive audience. They're all waiting for the show to begin, and there's an excitement level building for it to start.

"Your message is going to be seen and heard and remembered," she says.

They're typically 30- or 60-second spots, although NCN has run 15s and 90s. It's done via film, which means it can be spliced onto the feature film roll and shown just before the advertised showtime.

NCN's client list includes many in top categories like automotive (BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota), Banking & Finance (mostly regional); Fast Food (Arby's, Blimpies, Burger King); Retail (Federated, Macy's, Sears) and Telecommunications.

Peak seasons include holiday and summer, where advertising often has to be reserved as much as a year in advance. The campaigns run in four weeks' campaigns, a Friday through Thursday weekly schedule that follows the movie opening season. The advertising can be targeted by daypart, audience and other demographics. It's also possible to advertise at the concession stands, in special electronic kiosks and elsewhere in the movie theater, even in line.

But unlike TV advertisers that try to associate only with hot shows, Adler says NCN doesn't recommend tying advertising to one particular movie, no matter what the predictions are or aren't.

"There's no crystal ball in terms of what a movie will do. Marketing is one thing, but the public doesn't always gravitate to that one film. We recommend penetrating the theater," she says.

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