Nick Dager
Issue: June 1, 2007


NEW YORK - Cinema advertising spending reached an estimated $600 million last year, according to Cliff Marks, president and chairman of the Cinema Advertising Council and president of sales for National CineMedia. This is a sizable increase over the $527 million spent in 2005, Marks said, and he attributed the gains in part to digital cinema technology.

Marks spoke at the third annual “Marquee Marketing at the Movies,” an event sponsored by Advertising Age and the CAC, and held recently at the Loews Theatre. The event was held to announce the winners of the 2006 CAC Creative Excellence Awards, to release the results of the 2007 Arbitron Cinema Advertising Study and, in general, to highlight the growing importance of advertising in movie theatres.

In his opening address Marks was at once bullish and cautionary. “Cinema will have it’s rightful place” in a changing advertising media world, he said, but the advertising community must always understand and respect the movie audience.
“We are the uninvited guest,” he said, to anyone involved in making and presenting the pre-show material that runs before a feature film. He encouraged advertisers to continue to create cinema advertising that is unique and entertaining.

“People don’t come for the pre-show,” he said, so the challenge is to “enhance the experience.”

Finally, he called on all exhibitors to make the transition to digital cinema as quickly as possible because experience says that digital technology is driving advertising growth in movie houses.

If anything, Chris Peck, senior account manager at Arbitron, was even more bullish on cinema advertising than Marks, and the highlights from the study that he shared showed why. For starters there is the sheer size of the captive audience watching movies in the United States.

According to the Arbitron study, 81 percent of all teens (people aged 12-17) and 67 percent of people 18-24 have been to the movies at least once in the past 30 days. It gets better. Among teens, 59 percent saw three or more movies in the past 90 days and, among people 18-24, 39 percent have been to the movies three or more times in the past 90 days. And a sizable number, 25 percent of teens, have been to the movies five or more times in the past three months.
Moviegoers as a group, the study said, are good audiences for ads because 60 percent have a solid recall of the ads they saw at the movies.

It’s perhaps ironic, Peck said, but the study also found that moviegoers are more than twice as likely as non-moviegoers to block ads on television. Even more surprising, that fact a large number of moviegoers (74 percent of teens) say they don’t mind ads in movies.

The complete study can be found on the Arbitron Website (

CAC Creative Excellence awards Winners:

Top Regional or National Commercial Spot - Coca-Cola: Happiness Factory, creative: Wieden & Kennedy

Top Integrated Cinema Advertising Campaign

National Guard: Citizen Soldier, creative: LM&O Advertising; Media: LM&O Advertising

Top Regional or National Long-form Advertisement

Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS): Dept. of Humor Analysis, creative: Mother New York

Top Local Cinema Advertising Spot

Regions Bank: What’s Your Dream, creative: Luckie & Company

Top Still Image Advertisement (local, regional or national; slide or digital)
Basketball America: Basketball America Sports Complex, creative: Screenvision Direct

Top Digitally Animated Cinema Advertisement (local, regional or national)

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: I Can’t Stop Loving You: by Ray Charles and Country Music by SunTrust, creative: National CineMedia

Nick Dager is the Editor & Publisher of Digital Cinema Report. He can be reached at