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In-theatre advertising goes beyond the screen with ‘restroom branding’ and more

01-July-2005
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In-theatre advertising goes beyond the screen with ‘restroom branding’ and more

Historically, cinema advertising has just been about on screen advertising, i.e., ad films and slides before the movie and during interval. However, the current trend shows that on-screen is not enough and a full 360-degree approach is needed to ensure a stronger connect with consumers.

Ajay Mehta, Director, Interactive Television, a leading player in cinema advertising, feels that this trend is a manifestation of brands using a number of tools like ticket-based contests, branding in lobbies, kiosk-based activities and advertising in other vantage points like seats, tickets, rest rooms, parking, etc. “More and more brands are using the entire spectrum to meet their marketing objectives which may be visibility, imagery, sampling, trial generation and brand association,” he said.

The overall medium has become far more interactive resulting in a number of innovations. Also, with the advent of multiplexes and digital cinema, SEC A+ and A have returned to cinema halls. The outcome is that a whole range of categories have started advertising in cinemas which includes durables, automobiles, entertainment and financial services.

The latest initiative by Interactive Television is ‘restroom branding’. Currently in Mumbai, the company is promoting Lifebuoy in leading theatres with branding ranging from cutouts at rest room entry points, posters, stickers on rest room mirrors and hand dryers and free samples for rest room use.

“The branding is very effective and unique as it uses restrooms as a medium of communication which is not a commonly used medium but very relevant for the product category. Also, it is one of the most clutter-free mediums possible,” said Mehta.

Kamal Karamchandani of Dimples Cine Advertising, another major player in cinema advertising, agrees. Specialised areas such as toilets can be branded. Floor stickers are also a recent innovation”, he said. He added that innovations in cinema advertising range from kiosk activity and seat branding to product displays and visual merchandising. “Special theme based events can be organised around special days such as friendship day,” he further said.

However, both Karamchandani and Mehta are of the view that innovation in ideas is limited by clients’ imagination. “We welcome clients to give new and challenging ideas for us to implement,” Karamchandani said. Mehta cited the example of the Close Up Corners initiative as an innovative campaign that even won a gold at the Emvies. Close Up Corner involved branding corner seats and making the arm rest collapsible. These seats were sold to couples each of whom got a free beverage. “The idea was to take the brand’s positioning forward,” he said.

Mehta claimed that Interactive Television was the first to tap the concept of restroom branding with Dettol last year. The promotion was done in 40 theatres in Delhi and Mumbai for a period of two months to increase consumer connect and interaction with the brand.

Mehta elaborated, “Other innovations have included creating special Brylcreem Styling Zones in theatres, where consumers could walk in and see themselves with different hairstyles by using Brylcreem and got their favourite hairstyle snap in a Brylcreem branded photo frame. Other innovations have included ticket jacket branding. Every consumer who buys a ticket gets it in a branded ticket jacket.”

Going by current trends, it is time for advertisers to look at in-cinema advertising more imaginatively. The medium, going by what Mehta and Karamchandani say, can be a cost-effective means of brand connect with consumers. At the end of the show, cinema can deliver audiences to an advertiser.

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