You have several options for advertising at movie theaters, including static slides, a video ad before the show begins, or in-lobby promotions.
Learn about the cautions for doing this type of advertising and if you want to buy movie theater advertising, how to do it.
About movie theater advertising
You have several options for advertising at movie theaters:
- Run on-screen advertising with a TV ad (or other video you create for this purpose) or PowerPoint Slides.
- Run in-lobby promotions with lobby banners, escalator wraps, demo kiosks, etc.
There are two forms of “pre-show” advertising in cinemas:
- Static PowerPoint slides run on a slide projector ahead of the show.
- Video ads. There is a series of ads (called a loop) that’s 20 minutes or less in length. It’s shown ahead of a movie. Ads can be as short as 15 seconds in length. This is a type of what the ad industry calls “narrowcasting” which allows advertisers to choose the number of screens, locations (city or by chain), time of day or type of movie for your ad to be shown in the pre-show loop.
What does it cost?
- You’ll need to pay to produce the ad and for the media space to run the ad or slides.
- You can ask for “pay for view” as theaters have the counts of how many people were in a particular movie.
- ScreenVision and Cinemedia are the two largest sellers of cinema advertising, representing 15,000 theaters. Check their websites for pricing.
- Compare prices for movie theater advertising against costs for outdoor advertising.
You can buy advertising at movie theaters locally and nationwide through national movie theater chains or through companies that specialize in movie theater advertising. They may call this “cinema advertising.”
You can (and should) only buy advertising for movies that are appropriate to your company and/or product brand.
- Some companies may let you buy ads for a particular movie.
- Others will let you choose where your ads appear based on the ratings of the movie (G, PG, PG-13, R).
When buying advertising at movie theaters, consider:
- The areas where the movie theaters are located. Are these locations appropriate for your brand? Will they reach the target audience(s) you want? Narrow the list of all theaters to the ones that are best at reaching your target audience.
- Then look at what movies are watched by your target audience(s).
From our experience: It’s questionable how many people will actually see your ads. Only the people who arrive early and are sitting in the theater 10 minutes prior to the previews starting for other movies will see your ad. That means for very popular movies or on days/times where people go early to get a good seat, your ads will be seen. We think there are more effective types of marketing and advertising for most products and brands.
ScreenVision is a large national company that specializes in advertising in movie theaters and has a network of more than 15,000 theaters where you can place ads. Their website gives information on specifications for movie theater ads and videos.
The industry has created a Cinema Advertising Council (www.cinemaadcouncil.org) to consolidate and promote the benefits of cinema advertising. The site has awards of some of the best local and national cinema advertising which is a good way to see examples of how other advertisers are using this media.