Media: Double Standards - The medium that boasts a truly captive audience

The heads of two cinema sales companies on Quantum of Solace, 3D advertising and why the big screen will beat the recession.

KATHRYN JACOB - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PEARL & DEAN

- What's so great about cinema as a medium?

The content; from I've Loved You So Long to High School Musical to Bond to Australia - all ages, sectors and interests are there. Plus, the cinemas are comfortable, you get massive attention from your audience as it's an active choice of what you see with no distractions, there are numerous ways to augment on-screen activity via sampling, floor projections, Bluetooth, preview screenings ...

- Has the record £50 million investment in product placement in the latest Bond film been worth it?

You'll have to ask the brands for their view. Ford seems delighted as its found the target audience it wants in the film, and the success of the placement is all about the audience and making sure that the audience and the context is right for both the film and the brand. For a demonstration of the camera on the Sony Ericsson phone, the scene at the opera was fantastic ... it's like all tie-ins - make it relevant and insightful, add to the outcome and you'll be on track.

- How do you measure the impact of a brand's association with a film?

You have to start with the basics - who do they want to talk to, in what tone of voice and how do they measure success? Consideration to purchase, demonstrating a product benefit, competition entries? Then you work with the film to make sure you can achieve what both sides want. They can be quite hard conversations, but once you have got that clarity, you make it work. Sometimes brands aren't quite clear on what they want or have a long list of what they think they need to achieve - it's no help to the film or anyone involved if you aren't adding to the strategy.

- Have you any new and exciting formats to offer advertisers?

We have recently taken the Pearl & Dean brand on to the Virgin Atlantic in-flight entertainment system and we are in the final stages of testing our digital cinema capability. This year has also seen the first 3D commercial broadcast in UK cinemas and we are confident that brands will take advantage of the incredible visual impact that this new technology can provide.

- Tell us about some of your most innovative deals this year.

We are blessed with some incredibly talented creative minds and, this year, have excelled ourselves in developing platforms and innovations for brands to meet their criteria head-on. Activision's Guitar Hero remix of the Pearl & Dean theme is a feast for the eyes and ears. Also, we delighted thousands of women with the chance to step into the shoes of Carrie and Co with a Nivea-sponsored promotion around the release of Sex and the City.

- Is there enough competition in the cinema advertising market?

I think there is; the market can just about sustain two sales contractors, but any more would be economically unviable due to the level of overhead costs.

- Will the cinema audience hold up during the downturn?

Yes. There is enough historical evidence to support this and we have just experienced the biggest summer for cinema admissions in years. Quantum of Solace has just achieved the highest opening weekend of the year and, in fact, of any Bond film ever. The Mamma Mia effect has provided audiences with a welcome distraction from the economic doom and gloom.

- What's your favourite cinema ad?

The Hovis ad.

DEBBIE CHALET - ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE, DIGITAL CINEMA MEDIA

- What's so great about cinema as a medium?

Cinema enables brands to connect with consumers in a venue when they're in a relaxed and positive frame of mind. Nothing compares to the excitement, anticipation and impact of a visit to the cinema. In a day and age when engaging with consumers is key, what better way to connect than in an environment where the audience is captive, attentive and ready to be entertained?

- Has the record £50 million investment in product placement in the latest Bond film been worth it?

The record investment of brands into Bond is testament to the power of such a successful film franchise and relevant product placement is one way that brands can tap into this. The "Bond effect" was certainly felt by DCM as we watched the advertising space around the opening weeks of Quantum of Solace sell out an incredible 20 weeks in advance. With a record 3.3 million cinemagoers seeing the film in the opening weekend alone, it's proving to be a very successful platform for our advertisers.

- How do you measure the impact of a brand's association with a film?

Qualitative research tells us that consumers believe a cinema ad to be more glamorous, upmarket and special than the TV counterpart. In terms of pure impact, if you look at our top ten brands (year to date), it tells a great story - they are all repeat brands to cinema, demonstrating they've tried and tested us and we worked. These brands also spend significant amounts of their overall media budget on the big screen; for example, Kellogg's Special K (36 per cent) and Toyota Prius (68 per cent), demonstrating a real confidence in all that cinema has to offer.

- Have you any new and exciting formats to offer advertisers?

Our clients can now buy into a digital format and we're also readying the market for 3D advertising. The off-screen opportunities in cinemas are also growing, from bespoke foyer displays to catwalk fashion shows and innovative sampling.

- Tell us about some of your most innovative deals this year.

Having just been awarded for the Volvo interactive gaming campaign, we're proud of the way DCM is providing innovative solutions to clients' needs. If you visit the cinema pre-Christmas, you will see the custom-made PlayStation Gaming Suites showcasing five of its new key games. Each suite is themed around the content of the game, providing a true opportunity for cinemagoers to experience all the games have to offer first hand.

- Is there enough competition in the cinema advertising market?

There is a healthy amount of competition out there; two screen advertising companies per country is the norm.

- Will the cinema audience hold up during the downturn?

Absolutely. History has proven that in times of recession, cinema admissions remain buoyant as luxuries are shelved for the more affordable and upbeat treat of a trip to the cinema. Cinema admissions hit the record figure of more than 50 million this summer, the highest record for the July-August period in 40 years.

- What's your favourite cinema ad?

My favourite ad of all time would have to be Guinness "surfer" for its stunning impact. Once you've seen it on the big screen, it's a crime to watch it any other way.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).