Ritson and Hegarty endorse effectiveness of cinema in new global campaign

Well-known experts in advertising and marketing have come together to back a new global campaign raising awareness of the power of cinema for brands, including Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson and advertising legend Sir John Hegarty.

Launched by SAWA, the global cinema advertising association, the ‘#HelloBigScreen’ campaign includes a three-minute film featuring vignettes with the likes of Ritson and Hegarty, which will run in cinemas. It will also include multiple social media campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to reach marketers, moviegoers and agencies.

“We should remember, after this year or two away from cinema, the power of this incredible medium. Most importantly of all its emotional payload that is unlike any other,” Ritson says during the film.

Hegarty adds: “It’s a palace of dreams…Where your imagination is set free. In that sense it is completely unique in a world of distraction.”

Joining Ritson and Hegarty are Corinne Woods, director of communications at the United Nations World Food Programme, Brazilian art director Marcello Serpa, Mark Tutssel, the former global creative officer of ad agency Leo Burnett, and Rosie Arnold, the former executive creative director of BBH London.

The campaign is a first for SAWA, which was established more than 68 years ago and represents cinema advertising globally, with more than 75 members in 38 countries. The membership body is comprised of global cinema advertising companies who sell the medium of cinema, including Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and Pearl & Dean in the UK, as well as research companies and tech businesses.Advertisers flood back to cinema as latest Bond film breaks records

Some 33 countries are participating in the campaign, including the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, South Africa and the US

“This is such an important campaign for our industry,” say Pearl & Dean’s CEO Kathryn Jacob and DCM’s CEO Karen Stacey in a dual statement. “Not only does it highlight the resilience of the cinema medium, but it also celebrates the enthusiasm and love that the industry, creatives and consumers continue to have for cinema, as well as its effectiveness as an advertising platform.”

SAWA’s CEO, Cheryl Wannell, adds: “As the pandemic hit, leading Hollywood film directors stood up and endorsed the power of cinema over all other screens. It is therefore great to see that the ad legends of our business have done the same, as it relates to the power of the cinema medium as the ultimate place for brands to appear.”

The UK box office was unsurprisingly devastated in 2020 as the pandemic forced cinemas to shutter, decimating total revenues for the year by 76% – down to £296.7m from £1.25bn – and breaking a sequence dating back to 2011 of the UK box office taking a minimum of £1bn, according to the UK Cinema Association. Admissions for the same year were down 75% to 43.9 million.

Cinema ad spend in 2020 amounted to just £45.7m, a decline of 80% compared to 2019, according to Statista. Meanwhile, figures from the Ad Association/Warc expenditure report reveal spend on cinema was down -100% year-on-year over the first quarter of 2021.

However, the report forecasts that in 2021 as a whole cinema ad spend will bounce back by 315.6%, compared to 2020. Indeed, since cinemas reopened in the UK in May, audience numbers have hit 45 million admissions across the industry, fuelled by the launch of much-anticipated films such as No Time To Die, the latest film in the James Bond franchise.

Advertiser demand to be featured alongside Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 has been “extremely high”, Digital Cinema Media (DCM) has said, with a record number of forward bookings and brands looking to take advantage of the commercial opportunities associated with the film.

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