DCM’s marketing director Zoe Jones talks about the findings of their latest research project looking at the effectiveness of cinema advertising.

Last week, Digital Cinema Media (DCM) hosted its 2014 Upfronts event at Bafta, bringing together over 200 industry leaders to look ahead to 2015, what’s set to be the biggest year for film in decades, and discuss the range of exciting opportunities available for brands to engage the diverse cinemagoing audience and how they can enhance the cinema experience both on and off screen.

The audience were also treated to an exclusive showcase from Disney, highlighting some of the most exciting releases of next year including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, which truly set the scene for what cinema has in store for us in 2015.

We also launched the findings of our latest research project, The Bigger Picture. Conducted by Hall & Partners, this study looked at the effectiveness of cinema advertising to help us better understand how cinema is adapting in today’s changing media landscape.

The results were conclusive, indicating that cinema is working in a very different way to any other media, with ads watched in the cinema being processed by the brain more consciously, proving a much more powerful and emotionally engaging medium for brands. This offers a unique role for cinema in the contemporary communication mix and, in short, brands and agencies should sit up and recognise the strong, unique 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.

Undoubtedly, TV still plays an integral part in the media mix; no-one can refute the scale of its reach to general consumers. However, the changing relationship between how an audience interacts with 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 audiences where advertising is expected.

In a multi-screen, multi-platform world where people are constantly being inundated with messages from brands, it’s becoming ever more important to emotionally engage these audiences. People are consuming media more fluently but these latest research findings prove you still can’t beat the big screen for sheer impact and scale.

The cinema experience provides an immersive and captivating environment that, when connected to online, social and mobile, is a great place for brands to engage with all types of audiences. Maybe we’re stating the obvious, but the sheer impact and engagement of watching an ad on the big screen means cinema is the medium of choice when it comes to strengthening a brand, delivering key messages, increasing awareness and attracting new customers.

An increasing number of people are also paying a visit to the cinema each year. Since 2008, cinema has seen the total number of people visiting grow by 24 per cent, with 75 per cent of the adult population going to the cinema at least once a year. In 2008, only 64 per cent went to the cinema, which translates to 7.5 million more people going this year than in 2008. With 87 per cent of cinemagoers exposed to the ads, cinema’s appeal is constantly broadening, reaching more and more people, providing a powerful way for advertisers to reach audiences many regard as critical for success. 

2015 is set to be a remarkable year for cinema, with a huge array of big screen content ready to satisfy all audiences. This is a turning point for the cinema industry, breaking out cinema advertising to show the bigger picture and the integral role cinema can play in a brand’s media plans.

We’re not going to pretend cinema is the biggest thing on the planet, but it does deliver – in that consciously-processed way – the chance to target that hard to reach, highly engaged audience that brand’s really want to reach. The opportunity remains to continue investing in enhancing the cinemagoing experience, to ensure cinema’s resilience and lasting appeal stays with the audience long after the film.

Zoe Jones, marketing director, Digital Cinema Media