Maximising Cultural Power With Cinema

    Author Mia Blakeney

‘The Cultural Power of Cinema’ is the latest edition of Digital Cinema Media’s (DCM) industry-leading Building Box Office Brands series, created in partnership with experts, Burst Your Bubble. The study reveals cinema’s leading role in co-viewing experiences (98%) and how brands using the medium can in turn maximise commercial and social impact.

Against a backdrop of people spending more time alone (Source: IPA TouchPoints), there being fewer tentpole ‘water cooler’ moments on TV, and media investment shifting significantly towards AV channels that are predominately viewed in silo, DCM and Burst Your Bubble set out to understand what’s happening in culture, what role cinema can play in bringing people together, and ultimately the impact that the shared cinema experience can deliver for brands.

As part of the research, DCM included latest point-of-sale data to showcase how 98% of all showings are a shared viewing experience – well out-performing co-viewing figures available on TV and YouTube (Source: BARB & Thinkbox).

The wider study revealed that there is a lack of togetherness in society currently, and its particularly notable among young adults that there is a feeling of isolation from others. Despite this, people are still craving moments of togetherness and cinema is one of the events (alongside the likes of gigs, live sports etc.) that can create a positive shared experience:

  • 55% of adults agree ‘there is no sense of community anymore’
  • 60% of 16-34s agree they ‘feel distant from other people’
  • 7 in 10 agree that ‘events that bring people together are more important now than ever’
  • 71% agree ‘being part of a big audience enhances the experience’ at the cinema
  • 60% always/often experience a sense of connection to others in the cinema

Andrew Tenzer, Co-Founder, Burst Your Bubble, commented: “Cinema provides a powerful shared experience in which people feed off the energy of others, and makes us feel closer with others. This highlights the continued importance of cinemas within communities – and how they are particularly key in the context of battling social disconnection and isolation among younger adults.” 

The benefit for brands of this shared experience is clear – audiences see the ‘ads and trailers’ as part of the event experience and unlike other channels that are viewed alone, cinema naturally creates an environment that can generate a moment of talkability for brands about their ads too:

  • 62% of cinemagoers agree they ‘like to get there in good time to see ads and trailers’
  • 67% of 16-34s agree they ‘enjoy talking about the ads with other people’ at the cinema

To demonstrate the implications of this all in practice and highlight how cinema helps brands maximise cultural power, DCM worked with Burst Your Bubble to use their Signal framework to analyse five campaigns that were running on cinema screens across May and June (categories included automotive, gaming, entertainment & leisure, retail and telecoms).

The results proved that exposure to the ads in cinema delivers significant uplifts for brands on metrics relating to social impact, brand fame and signalling:

Social Impact

  • +50% uplift in ‘community’ association (the brands are associated with bringing people together and inclusivity)
  • +106% uplift in ‘universalism’ association (the brands being associated with phrases including broad-minded and social justice)

Brand Fame

  • +12% uplift in ‘everyone knows this brand’
  • +26% uplift in ‘everyone likes this brands’

Positive Signals

  • +37% uplift in agreement that ‘If I use this brand, most people think I’ve made a good choice’
  • +21% uplift in associating the brands with ‘high quality products and services’

Karen Stacey, CEO, Digital Cinema Media, commented: “Co-viewing is important because people enjoy talking about what they are watching together. For cinema, the ads and trailers are seen as an integral component to the whole experience – we place your brands at the heart of human connection. This is why we believe brands should include cinema as part of their AV mix to maximise talkability around key launch moments, and maximise the cultural power of their own brand.”

DCM Upfronts 2024

The full research piece was revealed to guests in attendance at DCM’s annual Upfronts event, which took place on the morning of Wednesday 3 July at Odeon Leicester Square.

The morning also included a panel discussion hosted by Craft Media’s Co-founder, Jen Jones with key standout clients to discuss how they have adopted a ‘Start With Cinema’ strategy and how the medium plays a vital role within the wider media mix, which further put these results into context.

Alex Taborda, Head of Media for the Professional Products Division, L’Oreal; Josh Hurrell, Marketing & Media Planning Lead, Sky and Steph Ferreira, Head of Customer Marketing & Digital, Hotpoint UK discussed the cultural resonance and buzz that cinema can deliver to maximise key brand moments.

Karen Stacey, CEO, Digital Cinema Media, concluded: “Cinema really is like no other medium because it offers a shared, collective experience – it’s a special moment for people, a place where audiences are receptive to quality content in the right context. This study proves our offering to brands is more powerful than ever, providing further compelling evidence that using cinema at the crucial moments – starting a new product, campaign or message - will deliver real value and leave a lasting impact with audiences.”

Cinema will continue to entertain key audiences with the most remarkable, exclusive film slate still to come in H2. Theatrical releases include Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, Joker: Folie à Deux, Transformers One, Venom: The Last Dance, Paddington In Peru, Gladiator II, Moana 2, Wicked and Mufasa: The Lion King.

Find out how your brands can Maximise With Cinema.