Want To Reach Millennials? Don't Forget The Draw Of The Silver Screen

Millennials are overwhelmed with media options at every touchpoint. Ofcom reports that whereas adults still prefer to spend their evenings watching scheduled TV, children are increasingly watching video clips online on YouTube and Vimeo. 11- to-15-year-olds watch an average of one hour and 32 minutes a day of live TV, compared with two hours and 58 minutes among adults. Almost half of them watched video clips online at least once a week, compared with only 20 percent of adults.

BuzzFeed Insights has also just released stats to support its own offering to advertisers, looking at how technology is changing media. Quoting from eMarketer, the report shows that 71 per cent of millennials visit social sites every day, and BuzzFeed asserts that ‘social feeds are the new home pages, so investing in content designed for social and mobile is becoming increasingly important’. eMarketer figures also show that millennials are using mobile more to consume content, with almost twice as much average daily mobile usage as adults in the U.S.

Millennials know what they want, when they want it, and where to find it. Along with online and mobile viewing of social content, it is also important to look at the role that cinema plays in the social lives of millennials as a regular fixture in their calendar. They like to be told stories, stories that make a real impact and stories that they can pass on and talk about to their peers. This applies to all their media consumption, but is especially relevant when it comes to cinema.

"The Hunger Games" is now one of the biggest franchises in the world, and is one that has core millennial appeal with its strong story and emotional impact. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1"took $123m in its opening weekend in the U.S. and topped the UK box office with £10.32m, plus £2.33m in previews.

Other stand-out titles for a millennial audience coming up in 2015 include "Taken 3, Kingsman: The Secret Service," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Ted 2," "Magic Mike 2," "Fast & Furious 7" and of course, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."These will likely have a big crossover appeal for 15-24 male and female audiences, making them popular films for brands to align with.

Some 88% of cinema-goers are millennials, with 97% usually watching the ads before the main film. Over half of millennials go to the cinema with friends, meaning that brands can reach groups of them at the same time. Cinema gets brands in front of millennials -- for example, a cinema campaign for three months will reach 40% of ABC1s, 54% of 15-34s and 61% of 15-24s. With the festive holidays coming up, adding cinema to a media plan can help brands target the younger millennial audience.

The results of our own study -- The Bigger Picture, conducted with Hall & Partners and announced last week -- show how brands and agencies should sit up and recognise the impact of cinema advertising. Cinema advertising is eight times more effective at making your brand stand out from the crowd than television. If you show people an unbranded still from an ad, three times as many cinemagoers will actually recall which brand it is for when compared with TV viewers. Cinema audiences are four times more likely to be emotionally engaged than a television audience, and those exposed to ads in the cinema are twice as likely to recall a brand compared to TV.

TV still plays an integral part of the media mix; no one can refute the scale of its reach to general consumers. However, the evolving relationship between this all-important millennial audience and the TV in their bedroom or living room means that the big Screen and second screens are increasingly proving their worth ahead of their allocated media spend and as a critical part of the media mix.

Unlike TV, which can enable viewers to skip ads, going to the movies creates a captive environment for millennials where advertising is expected. However, the challenge remains for the creative community to continue making ads that are informative and compelling, utilising consumer insights to better understand who their customers are, what they do and what motivates them.

A study by Facebook IQ has showed how marketers should better understand how people are communicating and how they should approach their target audience. The study found millennials to be a far from homogenous group, better approached by marketers as three distinct groups, each with their own characteristics: Optimists (age 13 to 15), Explorers (age 16 to 19), and Realists (age 20 to 24). It’s evident that young people are communicating differently and brands should recognise the ways in which they are consuming media today. According to the study, brands can play a valued role in helping young people utilise the right channel at the right time to ensure the conversation is a mutually agreeable experience.

In a multi-screen, multiplatform world where people are constantly being inundated with messages from brands, it’s becoming ever more important to emotionally engage these audiences. You still can’t beat the big screen for sheer impact and scale, with the cinema experience providing an immersive and captivating environment that, when connected to online, social and mobile, is a great place for brands to engage with millennial audiences.

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