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Movies, Popcorn and Social Awareness?

On March 30th, Screenvision, a leading innovator in cinema advertising introduced “The Limelight” – a dramatically re-engineered 20 minute in-cinema advertising pre-show. The new pre-show will enable advertisers to fully capitalize upon mobile interactivity and social connectivity with their ad buys.

 The content provided will be long-form enabling brands to deepen their connections with consumers. The Limelight aims to make movie-going more engaging for the audience, giving them a reason to arrive at the theater early and switch on their mobile devices to play trivia and share movie activity with their Facebook friends. During the pre-show moviegoers will be able to use a free mobile app called screenfanz to receive comprehensive movie information, a chance to check in at theaters, share their reviews via their online networks, participate in trivia and receive social status points for a chance to win free movie tickets and concession cash.

Cinema advertising is unique because it reaches a captive audience and allows brands to tell their story. Because it is the only form of motion in the environment, an advertiser receives 100% of the viewer’s attention. National advertisers such as FedEx, Purina and Allstate tested the new format with long form video and customized mobile interaction. The pilot research showed 54% unaided recall with nearly half intending to purchase these brands in the next year. The pilot research which represented a sample of 640 movie-goers, also demonstrated 76.1% of smartphone users are more than ready to “go mobile” with Limelight before a feature presentation.

This new engaging format is an incredible opportunity for non-profits who want to raise awareness on important social causes and philanthropic issues. It allows users to text in and receive more information while they are waiting for the movie to start. Both the Ad Council and partnered with Screenvision and premiered never before seen ads in cinema with the launch of Limelight.

The Ad Council and the Dollar General Foundation unveiled their new GED Achievement campaign which features celebrities such as Jamie Lynn Sigler, Jerry Stiller, and Debra Jo Rupp. The campaign encourages viewers to visit the website and receive a celebrity pep-talk encouraging them to go back and get their GEDs. It is critical that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in life by obtaining their GED. Featuring messages like these in cinema theaters for the first time is a great opportunity for non-profits because it provides the capability to reach a captive audience as well as reach a broad target of people.

With the massive connection capabilities that digital technology and social media provide – it was only a matter of time before a cinema preshow like Limelight was created. I just went to the movies last week and arrived before the feature started. During the pre-show I was on my phone texting people and reading my Facebook newsfeed. The trivia on the screen was not engaging enough to grab my attention. Most moviegoers have smartphones and if they are at the movies early they are ready to be engaged. Limelight is going to enable moviegoers to be entertained during the pre-show as well as engage with their online networks via their smartphones. I think this marketing strategy is brilliant and will result in increased brand connectivity for advertisers that take advantage of it. Because of the longer form content – Limelight will allow advertisers and non-profits to convey their message to moviegoers in a creative, entertaining way and then enable them to use their phones to share and learn more with the screenfanz mobile application. For non-profits this level of engagement is crucial. The Ad Council’s mission is to deliver critical messages to the American public in an effort to inspire change and improve lives. Limelight will allow the Ad Council to not only raise awareness on these issues but also give users the opportunity to spread the message using their phones. The movie going experience is going to make people more socially conscious and aware and I can’t think of anything more entertaining than that!


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