Targeting Audiences with Cinema Advertising

Category: Cinema Advertisements

Estimated time: 50 minutes


Advertising is a way to promote your business and increase sales or make your audience aware of your products or services. Until a customer deals with you directly and actually buys your products or services, your advertising may help to form their first impressions of your business.

If you are part of a marketing campaign, you probably want to ensure the best possible return on your investment. For example, you may choose to optimize your budget with one or two advertisements in a more expensive medium, or, depending on your purpose and target audience using several advertisements via cheaper channels. One prime option for those looking to optimize a limited marketing budget is cinema advertising.

Think about it: A movie theater may be the only place where it is considered rude to talk over commercials. Businesses have tried to take advantage of movie theater audiences for as long as the entertainment industry as been around. If done right, cinema ads can give you the unparallelled attention of a (literally) captive audience.


In order to succeed with your marketing campaigns, you need to use the right channels, in the right combination and ensure that everything fits within a tidy little budget. Cinema advertisements are not for everyone but if they work for you, you are almost guaranteed a captive audience. By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Learn the basics of cinema advertising

  • Understand the various advantages of cinema advertisement

  • Identify what businesses can benefit from cinema advertisements


  • Basics of Cinema Advertising

  • Advantages of cinema advertising

  • Business that are suitable for cinema advertisement


Learn the basics of cinema advertising


If you show people an unbranded still from an ad, three times as many cinemagoers will actually recall which brand it is for when compared with TV viewers. Cinema audiences are four times more likely to be emotionally engaged than a television audience, and those exposed to ads in the cinema are twice as likely to recall a brand compared to TV.

The cinema experience provides an immersive and captivating environment that, when connected to online, social and mobile, is a great way for brands to engage with all types of audiences. The sheer impact and engagement when watching an ad on the big screen is unparallelled.For many marketers, cinema is the medium of choice when it comes to strengthening a brand, delivering key messages, increasing awareness and attracting new customers.


Have you ever experienced a riveting cinema ad in a movie theatre? List down three most memorable cinema ads you have watched in the past. List the reasons why they left such a mark on you.


Understand the various advantages of cinema advertisement


The following are the key advantages to incorporating cinema ads into your campaigns:

Deep impact

Screen advertising has a deep impact on the viewers because of large screen size and the fine picture presented to the viewers combined with sound, colour motion and vision. In terms of marketing, it creates an immersive user experience that the audience will remember for a long time.


Cinema advertising is selective yet flexible. The cinema audience consists of all segments of  society with differing in living standards, educational level, etc. However, a set of people that come to watch an action movie such as Fast and Furious are very likely to be interested in cars. By carefully selecting the movies before which your ads are displayed, you can get very precise in your targeting.

Mass publicity

Just like outdoor hoardings, a cinema hall offers the unique opportunity to reach a large mass of your target audience in one go. Today, the capacity of a single movie theater ranges between 1000 and 3000 persons per show. Not even radio or television can match cinema advertising on immersively engaging such large numbers of people at the same time!


Film advertising cuts across the barrier of literacy and language and reaches the audience. Often, cinema advertising can leave the audience spellbound and etch your brand into their minds for a long time.


Go back to your list of memorable ads. For each cinema ad, try to remember what movie it was played before. Who was the target audience? Note that you would be one of them since you were sitting in the movie hall. What were the target audience’s interests? Analyze each experience in detail.


Identify what businesses can benefit from cinema advertisements


While TV and print have well-defined norms and metrics, cinema is as yet a hazy area for advertisers and media people because it has undergone somewhat of a renaissance since the dawn of the digital era. In order to determine whether a business would benefit from cinema ads, you need to know a few basics of cinema ad logistics first.

Typically, there is 15 minutes of ad inventory. Most theatres play seven minutes before the film and seven during the interval. If the ad spot is digital, inventory could be sold in any unit a 10, 30, 60 seconds. If the chain or screen is analog, inventory is usually sold in 60 second units. Since TV ads are 30 seconders and most brands do not shoot special ads for cinema, it explains why you see the same ad twice sometimes.

Just to give you an idea, it may cost roughly around $1,300  per 30 second, per screen, per theatre, per month to advertise on screen after lights out. Of course, if you find a good channel partner and negotiate well, you may be able to drive the costs down. Cinema halls also offer 4’x6′ posters in the lobby for roughly $200 per poster, per month. These are just rough figures. When you get down to the nitty gritties of your marketing campaign, you will have to put in RFPs and do your research before putting down your money.

Also, there are several cinema ad formats to choose from. Screenvision, the largest national network with exclusive access to 14,000 screens in several major theater chains, offers rolling stock, still image advertising (analog or digital slides) and in-theater promotional opportunities. The companies that really do the best advertising on the big screen are the companies that can bring the family together, or tap into a common interest – say Avengers fans! Nonprofits are another good example for a business that would benefit from advertising at the cinema.Other companies that do well are insurance companies because people sitting in the movie theatre with their families would want to be protected and they would want to protect their family as well.

Ultimately, whether or not cinema ads will work for your business is determined by your target audience, what they are interested in, whether your budget allows for investment in cinema advertising and whether you are able to reach the right type of audience with your cinema ads.


If you are the owner of multi cuisine restaurant located in the centre of city, would you consider cinema advertising as a feasible advertisement option to advertise your establishment? Give reasons for your answer.


You are part of a non-profit organization’s PR department. The organization provides shelter to stray animals and rescued pets.  Identify whether cinema ads will work for you. What type of movies could you piggyback your ads off of? Why do you think this will work/not work?

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