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TOPIC: Advertising

Advertising 22 Sep 2005 12:09 #10955

  • RonOne50
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Okay everyone what is your best form of advertising? We advertise on the radio, in the newspaper as well as various and sundry phone books, special venues (Rodeos sport events and school year books) on the World Wide Web.

Our best is that we do weekly newsletter to our patrons and the web. We are in the process of offering it as a service to other theaters. Just contact my wife at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want her to do your newsletter or want to sign up to receive ours. We also do web page work two examples of my wife’s work are at www.suburbancinemas.com or http://www.riflemansrifle.com/ okay the rifleman site isn't a movie theater site but is a site about a great TV show.

Now this is a bit of an advertisement in and of itself but I am interested in what your best advertising is!

Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 00:42 #10956

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Let me begin by saying what I believe are the worst places to advertise. "Various and sundry phone books, special venues, sport events and school year books".

What is it that we are selling, we must ask ourselves. Our theatres, or the movies that we show in them? We might very well answer BOTH, and indeed to some extent that is true, but the most important thing is that which our patrons are interested in... which is what they come to see... the film! I don't want to discount the value of our facilities, they must be clean and comfortable, and hopefully beautiful as well, but lets face it, it's the film that brings in most of our patrons. Therefore, we must sell the attractions that we exhibit. We can't entice the public to come see a given film in a sports program or a high school yearbook, or the phone book. The timeliness of those publications make it impossible to advertise any given attraction, they are only good for institutional ads. Sometimes you want to create good will from the community toward the theatre, and those kind of ads can help to do that, but don't get carried away, they for the most part do not bring a monetary gain back to the theatre.

Radio is good if you want to sell a specific picture, but not good to let people know what it is that you are playing unless you are lucky enough to be in a market area that has inexpensive radio rates where you can place ads daily during drive time. Movie going is for the most part, an impulse situation where people suddenly think... "hey let's go to the movies, what's playing" and they go to whatever source is available to get that information exactly at that time when they want it. You can't go and turn on your radio and have the movie listings blurted out immediately at the time you want to hear them. You could listen for hours, and never hear them unless they are listed at the precise same time every day, and that would only be good if everyone knew to tune in exactky at that time.

Newspapers are the old standard. Most people still get a paper, but it's getting to be less and less as each year goes by. And they are getting to be extremely expensive in most areas, to the extent that many large chains are now not advertising every day, often only on weekends in daily newspapers. However, I do still believe that newspapers are an important advertising vehicle, but I agree that they aren't needed every day any longer. I have cut back my advertising in dailies and added more weekly papers. Weekly papers cost 1/10 as much as dailies and cover a specific area that I know serve potential patrons for my theatre. The dailies offer huge readership figures, but I find that I'm paying to get to people that are too far away to ever be a patron at my theatre.

The Internet. Now there's the up and coming advertising source for theatres. Already, most young people use the internet to find out what's playing, where and when. A website is something every theatre needs today, and it will continue to become more important as time goes by. Even more and more of the older folks are becoming familiar with the internet as a source of information for entertainment and shopping.

What I believe is fast becoming one of the most important advertisng avenues is the internet newsletter. What better way to get information directly to people that you know want it. Most of those who subscride to a theatre newsletter are regular moviegoers, often regulars to the specific theatre that sends the newsletter. The really nice thing about a newsletter is that you can update your information at any time. Make last minute changes, announce a closing due to snow or a special promotion, or anything whenever you want to. Just don't overdue it or your subscribers might tire of receiving it too often.

The important thing is that regardless what advertising media you use, your ads must contain the important information that's needed for a potential patron to become enticed to visit your theatre. Always remember the 4 Ws of advertising... What, Where, When and Why. The first three must be in every ad, What, Where and When. The 4th, WHY should be included if space allows.
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 10:25 #10957

  • RonOne50
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I agree with everything you are saying. The special venues, sporting events and especially the school yearbooks are more a Public Relations advertising. Most of our employees, for better or worse, are high school aged. To me to turn them down on their school event and not advertise send the wrong signal. It tells them we don't care about you, which is wrong we do care about our kids.

As to the Internet and newsletters, it is our bread and butter for our regular customers. The newspaper in some cases tends to be a necessary evil (as our local is prone to mistakes). The radio is a hit and miss thing as far as I am concerned it seem to work for some films, those we can give them products to give away on the radio seem to do well. The station doesn’t charge us extra to give them away they get a new freebee for the station and we get extra time when they give it away.

Still all things considered Internet and newsletter have worked out the best!


Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 10:35 #10958

  • jimor
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Roxy gave a superb answer, and I can only add that ads should also mention price AS WELL AS the REAL start time, perhaps in parenthesis behind the 'official' start time that includes your ads and promos. These days, with TV and the like, cinemas 'turn off' as many people as attract them by making them spend their valued time with 10-20 minutes of non-movie showings.

Trailers used to 'trail' the movie as the name suggests, but now it is a form of coercion before the movie which is what the patron paid for. If the patron wants to sit through them after the end of the film, so be it, but he should not be kept as a prisoner before the film. With this growing practice, the exhibitor has been shooting himself in the foot for some time now, and declining attendance figures confirm this. With the alternative of DVDs, why should one sit through commercials (and whether you call them 'Previews' or 'Coming Attractions' matters not at all; the patron sees commercials)?

Roxy is also right about "institutional" ads in yearbooks and the like; they do nothiing for daily revenues. But ever since I found such an ad in a local yearbook from the 1920s with a photo of the front of a movie house nowhere else known, I thank that advertiser of so many years ago for providing a piece of history that would otherwise be lost to posterity. By all means, use a photo to document your presence in such places, but regard it as a monument for history, not a daily attractions listing. The daily lists are tomorrow's bird cage liner, but photos in such places mark your place in time, and will be wonderful memories for you and your grandchildren in years to come when the vaunted films of today are long forgotten.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 10:54 #10959

  • RonOne50
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We no longer show on screen advertising we do run 3 (and no more) trailers before the film. We use to try to put up the correct show start time but no matter we have people come in 15 to 30 minutes after the start time and say, "so we are still in the previews right?" We have never run more than 6 or 7 minutes of previews but customers are customers and you have to love them the alternative is unthinkable!



Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 11:30 #10960

  • puzzlegut
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I know this is starting to get off topic, but we also decided to stop showing on screen advertisements as we feel that customers shouldn't be forced to watch something that they already see on TV. It would be one thing if it was one of those slideshow advertisements that run before the movie starts for people who are waiting in the theater before the show.

As far as our trailers go, we generally only run 2 trailers and only do about 5 minutes worth of them. We want to get the movie started as soon as we can so that people can watch the film. And you're right RonOne50, we also get people that will come in fairly late and they ask "Is the movie still in the previews?" I suppose for the bigger city theaters, they are use to them running 10 minutes or more trailers but we wouldn't do that.

Now, back on topic. For our advertising, we do an ad for our 4-screen theater in a weekly newspaper. We also do Movie Facts, which is free and gives the core information about the theater (name, phone number, ticket prices, specials), but it isn't necessarily good for advertising specific movies or showings.

At our single screen, we use to do an ad in a monthly magazine but decided to stop when the owner of the magazine was being rude to many of his customers (and he ended up closing the magazine due to a lack of advertisers). Since this ad was only once a month, we really didn't do any advertising for specific movies or showings but instead just gave the core theater information. For both this and our newspaper ad for the 4-screen, we did coupons on the ads to get people's attention and to give us an idea of how many people are reading our ads. If you're doing a newspaper/magazine ad and are curious how many people are actually paying attention to it, try doing a coupon and see how many people bring them in.

For both theaters, we also print up magnets with the theater information on it. That way, people can just put them on their refrigerator and they always have our hotline number on hand when they want to find out what movie is playing.

Another thing we doe for our single screen is we have a website and email list. Both of these are done by us and are fairly simply. Our website is done through a free website and gives movie listings and other information (concession items and prices, specials, etc) and our email list is done through our Outlook Express and just simpily gives the person the movie listing for each week. Since these are free, there is no reason why we shouldn't do this, even if it only gains the attention of 30 or so people.
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 14:20 #10961

  • sevstar
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puzzlegut
If I may ask..
What company or site have you found to be a reliable free web site provider?
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Re: Advertising 23 Sep 2005 15:49 #10962

  • puzzlegut
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sevstar: We do our website through [url=http://www.freeservers.com.]www.freeservers.com.[/url] Of course there are a few downsides to it. There are some banners on the website. You can pick the URL name you want, but you do have to insert some sort of extra characters to the address (here is an example with a fake URL [url=http://www.goldentheater.8m.com).]www.goldentheater.8m.com).[/url] And another problem that I've noticed is that when I try putting in certain chracters, like the dollar sign, it messes up what I had typed so for some parts of the website, I just use the word dollar.

Of course if you want something really fancy shmancy, then you would probably need to pay to have a website host your webpage. But for what we use it for, we find that just doing a free one is good enough.
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Re: Advertising 25 Sep 2005 10:18 #10963

  • rodeojack
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We do our web site through Prohosting. It is an inexpensive, and rock solid reliable service.

We're experiencing pretty much what everyone else here is. The Internet is... or has fast taken over as the major source of information for our audience. We still get reasonably good use of our phone system, but I'm downsizing it this year (paying a lot of money for lines that aren't being used as much now).

One thing that hasn't been touched on here is cable advertising, and I'm wondering if anyone here has tried it. We're in the process of making our spots now.

On the surface, it seems that cable can be more locally targeted than, say, on-air television. Cable penetration is at least as high as internet now (at least around here), and you can usually buy inexpensive packages that will move through several channels, allowing you to track which channels provide you the best draw.

Anyway, we're going to give it a shot when we open our 2006 season. Anyone here already know if/how it works????
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Re: Advertising 25 Sep 2005 11:58 #10964

  • BurneyFalls
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I used cable advertising for about four or five years. When I stopped, nobody said a word.

Our local cable person would call on the day the movie changed and change the ad for me which was very nice, but still I don't think it grabbed that much business.

Maybe your service penetrates a larger area and has a way to make better looking ads.
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Re: Advertising 26 Sep 2005 11:43 #10965

  • dsschoenborn
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Yes the internet has grown. from my other posts you know I want to start a newsletter but it must be attractive and reliable.

The 4 W's are most important. I have looked at many websites and find the where missing or hidden. You address and phone number is important. If I am new to an area and search on theatre and city name I should get your website and it should tell me where in the city you are located.

Why don't you try this. Type in theatre and your city in a search engine and your theatre's website should be listed at the top or near the top. Then when I look at the website I should easly see where you are located and how to contact you.
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Re: Advertising 26 Sep 2005 13:06 #10966

  • dsschoenborn
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Yes the internet has grown. from my other posts you know I want to start a newsletter but it must be attractive and reliable.

The 4 W's are most important. I have looked at many websites and find the where missing or hidden. You address and phone number is important. If I am new to an area and search on theatre and city name I should get your website and it should tell me where in the city you are located.

Why don't you try this. Type in theatre and your city in a search engine and your theatre's website should be listed at the top or near the top. Then when I look at the website I should easly see where you are located and how to contact you.
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Re: Advertising 28 Sep 2005 09:06 #10967

  • sals
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This may be different....

In exchange for a screen ad (before the show, on Powerpoint), the local (very busy) pizza place is putting stickers on every pizza box that goes out. I print the stickers, and they list the shows for the week, plus any specials. I am thinking about coupons sometimes too...

I'm throwing a few passes at the employees who apply the stickers.

I think this is direct, and just reminds people about the theater...

Just started this and I'll let you know how it is working...

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Re: Advertising 28 Sep 2005 12:16 #10968

  • poppajoe
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We have a web site and send out a weekly newsletter. I think that works well for us. Of course we advertise in tthree of the newspapers and distribute small posters around town each week.
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Re: Advertising 28 Sep 2005 16:39 #10969

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I forgot to list one of the very best means of advertising for theatres, one that should be obvious, but it's importance is often overlooked.

The MARQUEE!

While marquees as advertising space should be important to every theatre, they are even more important to small town theatres. The roadside changeable sign at most mutiplexes don't have the advertising potential that the building mounted marquees have on the front of intown theatres. Whether the theatre is downtown or in a neighborhood, the fact that those locations are on streets that require traffic to travel at much slower speeds makes it more effective to place a message and have people actually be able to read it. Most small town theatres are either singles, or former singles that have been twinned or tripled, and therefore still have the need to only advertise 1 to 3 movies to people passing by at a slow speed.

The suburban sign often tries to announce 10 to 20 films on a sign so small that most people if they even see it, can only read 4 or 5 titles before thay have passed it by. Those signs aren't capable of selling anything but the title, while the conventional building front marquee can add star names, showtimes, and anything else that might catch the passerbys attention, and draw them in.

Also in a small town, everyone knows that the theatre is there and almost everyone passes the theatre, if on the main street, several times a week if not every day.

I often stand outside under my marquee and watch people as they drive by. Regardless of the time of day, or whether the theatre is open or closed, 80% of them look up at the marquee to read what it has to say.

I often spot theatres that have marquees with large attraction boards that have 3 or 4 tracks for letters and only the title is put up on the center line. No star names, no rating, no showtimes. What a waste of FREE advertising space. The only cost is for labor to change the sign, and that is usually very little, and letter replacement cost which should be very little if you have quality letters. I'm still using the set of Adler metal letters that were purchased for this theatre when they changed from reverse letters to the present ones in 1940.

A marquee using several differnt sizes and colors of letters can attract a great deal of attention, and do a fantastic job of selling your attractions. When it comes to color letters, it is important to remember to use different colors for different components. The tiltle can be one color, star names a different color, showtimes or rating a 3rd color, but NEVER use different colors in the same word or title.

That marquee hanging from the front of your building can do a lot more then protect your patrons from the rain. It can do more to sell your show and at a lower cost then any other form of advertising.

Don't take it for granted... put it to work.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited September 28, 2005).]
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