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12 July 2016

Is cinema the real advertising innovator?


Advertising’s being driven more and more by digital innovation, so it was great to see my favourite channel, cinema, hailed by John Hegarty at Cannes Lions this year as a fantastic medium. This led to comments in the press along the lines that good old fashioned cinema continues to perform well without being seen as particularly innovative.

Traditional, maybe. But old fashioned and lacking innovation? I don’t think so!

To me, cinema is both pioneering and innovative. It was arguably the first truly immersive media experience, and over the past 20 years, cinema tech has evolved massively in terms of both sound and vision – take 3D, for instance. Meanwhile, the growth of the multiplex has made cinema a destination in itself, not to mention the boutique explosion, with  luxuriously comfortable seats and the ultimate in comfort food and drinks on tap. This has driven us all to fall even more in love with the movies, delighting in being a captive audience sharing the experience with family and friends, where ads are simply seen as part of the experience – to my knowledge, no one has ever left to make a cup of tea while they’re showing!

The real innovation, however, has come from the boardroom. First, cinema has marketed itself to consumers extremely well. In an average year, cinema and the movies themselves spend in around £190 million on advertising in the UK alone. What other medium invests so much in promoting itself? If theres a new blockbuster coming to town, like Star Wars, its common practice to put £10 million behind it. A big part of this is spent on the driving interaction with you and me through social media and mobile – so cinema has thoroughly embraced the digital revolution.

Second, the way cinema is packaged today is simply superb. Booking has been transformed online, where you can buy tickets quickly and easily for individual theatres across a range of options from premium to standard. Plus TV-style ad buying techniques have been introduced to streamline the process and improve audience targeting. All of this has been driven by capturing the best talent from other media sectors.

Most media experts thought cinema would die with the DVD and bigger and better TVs – how wrong they were. Instead, faced with such a seemingly impossible challenge, cinema evolved faster and continues to thrive. Now thats innovation. 

By Pete Davis, founder and managing director of Get Me Media


Check out some of our top cinema case studies below:

Coke Thirst | Brazil

Coke thirst

The Anti-Abuse Soundcheck | Thailand

Anti abuse

Eyes on the Road | China


Do you know the best time to sample fragrances? | Malaysia


Tasting is Believing | Singapore



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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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