Saturday, May 07, 2005

And while we're on the topic of ads...

Sponsorship on the silver screen
Pre-movie theater ads annoy some, but they could be here to stay

go to original article ... or email me for article text
"Regal Entertainment, the largest theater chain in the country and most ambitious adopter of screen advertising, uses a 20-minute block of ads and behind-the-scenes promos of new movies and TV shows. The company spent $70 million on a network of digital projectors that beam this block into its theaters via satellite. They call this "The 2wenty."

Arbitron, the audience measurement company, did a 2003 study of commercials and movie theaters that's become a benchmark for the industry. No surprise - and despite evidence to the contrary (including other surveys) - they found you love screen advertising. They even have a phrase to describe you:

'Captive audience.'"
I, for one, would have to question the wisdom of this particular 70 million dollar investment. I mean, come on. I understand that theaters need to find innovative ways to widen the profit margins in a tough business, so there's a huge impetus to viewing this optimistically and jumping on any survey that appears to support your cause. But this, to me, seems pretty inexcusable. To make that kind of investment and roll out that many projectors, there was obviously no looking back. This wasn't any sort of "try it out to see how people feel about it" experiment (and judging from people's reactions, it should have been). This was a "we'll force them to get used to it because they have no other choice".

Maybe in the end, it's better for everyone, and this is saving the general public money on preventing ticket prices from rising. But both the cynic and the reasonable person in me think it's not better for everyone. Ticket prices are going to continue to rise regardless of ads. Frankly, I don't mind that as much as long as you still find ways to make it affordable for families to go to the movies. If the industry wanted to keep ticket prices down, they'd find some other way to do it. The other reason, I know this is a bad thing for everyone is that these ads are just awful. They don't even have the basic sensibilities that trailers do. If you're showing an action movie, then you show ads for other action movies. But these ads are the most generic, and poor-attempt-at-being-widely-appealing brand advertisements you can get. And speaking from my experience working with all the possibilities of targeted and contextual advertising, I find nothing more detestible than brand advertising. While it is not something that thi blog aims to address, I feel strongly that it is one of the biggest wastes of people's time and money that our society has ever allowed itself to generate.

Just to leave on a positive note, I'm including my favorite part of the article (which I highly recommend for it's much more balanced and interesting analysis of the situation)
The Portland, Ore., graphic designer started the Captive Motion Picture Audience of America - which is basically a Web site ( and a rallying cry. It also offers placards to print out that read: "RESERVED. This Patron is Avoiding Cinema Advertising and Will Return When the Feature Begins."


Post a Comment

<< Home