By: Marcial Robiou
Ah, the movies; place where you can get away from all of life’s worries for a good two hours and watch an entertaining flick. “Sure,” you say to yourself, “I know I have to watch a few trailers before the movie starts, but that’s ok. Some trailers are awesome, and they’re not that long.” But what about the Let’s All Go to the Lobby anthem that comes on before the trailers? “That’s ok, you say, I’ll probably sing along to it.” But what about the commercials? “The what?!,” you reply in shock with a little hint of anger. “I’m paying for a movie experience, not a tv one!”
Sadly, this is the way movies are right now. It used to be that one or two pre-movie ads would come on, of course followed by the audience’s pre-movie ads’ hisses and boos. However, not even the loudest heckler can silence the onslaught of commercials attacking the nation’s movie screens. The ads range from the Army to M&Ms, Volvos, anything you see on TV, any one of them running from 15 seconds to a god-awful 90. As annoying as they are though, don’t think this is just a fad. In fact, according to the National Cinema Network, a company that places commercials on a third of US movie screens, there has been a 48% increase in pre-movie commercial sales over the past year alone. Why is this method of advertising becoming more and more popular?
First of all, it’s way cheaper than television advertising, almost 7 times so. Second, its recall (the ability of the viewer to say, ‘Yeah I remember that Honda commercial with the frog and the cotton candy’) is an astounding 80%, 4 times higher than television. Also, and most important, the movies target the main audience companies want: 18-49 year old males with high disposable income and active lifestyles. About 54 million consumers a month go to the movies, with a huge chunk (at least half) of them being in the crowd mentioned above. Not to mention that the revenue being brought into the theaters is too good to pass up. Theater owners can earn up to 4 million dollars for just five weeks of summer ads.
Many of the people I asked about the subject echoed the same feeling with answers like; “I think it’s stupid” to “I haven’t gone to the movies in months, I just wait for video now.” Even some in the ad agency are nervous. “It’s a very delicate place to advertise,” says Alex Bogusky, creative director for Crispin Porter & Bogusky. “People paid money to go see a film. You show up as an uninvited guest.” Uninvited or not, these ‘guests’ are going to be here for a long while.