LONDON: Cinema offers an unique opportunity to engage a captive audience who have paid to pay attention, delivering more positive experience than any other AV channel, a new WARC Best Practice paper argues.

In How to use cinema effectively in the media mix, Michael Tull, Research & Insight Manager at Digital Cinema Media, maintains that cinema delivers significant impact per person reached for key equity metrics including salience, love, difference, consideration and recommendation.

The medium's power for short-term activations has also increased, he says, thanks to new ways of buying by audience, genre, and even showing time – all of which has helped bring a new sophistication to targeting in cinemas.

Tull notes that the Cinema Advertising Council in the US has shown – through a comprehensive meta-analysis of studies – that the average revenue return on investment for campaigns that include cinema is 63% higher compared to campaigns that do not.

In particular, cinema is exceptionally powerful with advertising-averse Gen Z (16-19-year-olds) with 59% feeling positive about it, compared to the 38% who felt positive about TV advertising.

Which is just as well, Tull writes, as the medium "attracts a younger, more affluent audience who tend to be lighter TV viewers and who've paid to give their undistracted attention to the big screen".

Yet advertisers across major industry sectors underinvest in cinema advertising, he adds, possibly because of the historical lack of reporting structures that can pinpoint the impact of cinema on uplifts in sales.

But this situation is changing as econometric modelling develops. Key to finding success, says Tull, is to demand quality, granular admissions data for rigorous analysis.

Successful examples of properly integrated cinema advertising speak for themselves, he says. For the launch of the new LG G4 smartphone, for example, UK telco Three developed a Blair Witch Project cinematic ad along the lines of a feature release, with trailers generating buzz and driving people to the cinema.

More than 3m watched the trailers online and the campaign delivered over 1m cinema admissions where audiences were treated to the full four-minute film in the medium for which it was designed.

During the course of the campaign, LG G4 sales increased over 20%.

Data sourced from WARC