A study for Digital Cinema Media (DCM), a cinema advertising supplier, tested ad campaigns running in cinema and television at the same time with a sample of 1,200 people.
The research suggested that the ads shown in cinema screens were eight times more effective at making a brand stand out than television.
And cinema audiences were four times more likely to be emotionally engaged than a television audience.
Recall figures were higher as well: viewers exposed to cinema ads were twice as likely to recall a brand as those who had viewed the TV ad. And when shown an unbranded still from an ad, three times as many cinema goers recalled which brand it was for when compared with TV viewers.
"These research findings are beyond conclusive: cinema advertising is doing something very different to people's heads than other media," said Simon Rees, CEO, Digital Cinema Media, in remarks reported by MediaTel.
"Maybe we're stating the obvious," he added, "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, especially amongst a desirable, hard to reach target audience."
His balloon was deflated by Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, who said the findings "need some perspective".
Cinema audiences have been growing over the past five or six years, with the proportion of the UK population going at least once a year up from 64% in 2008 to 75% today. But, Clay noted, TV reaches 93% of the population in a week.
"Cinema advertising is great but it is an occasional treat for most people and most advertisers," she said. "TV is a major part of everyday life and the foundation of the biggest brands. So cinema is a great addition to TV advertising but in no way is it a replacement."
Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff