From the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

What better place to grab the attention of a captive audience than at the movies? After all, box-office sales hit a record-breaking $7.5 billion in 1999, and the average U.S. resident attended at least five movies per year from 1996 to 1999.

Not surprisingly, cinema advertising-that is, marketing your business via slides projected onto the screen prior to the feature presentation-has caught on with entrepreneurs. Jeremy Brumley, for one, is a believer: When the Lakeland, Florida, entrepreneur first considered moving his retail music business, Woodpecker Records, across town to a pricier spot, he tested the waters by placing a cinema slide in that area. When the effort generated a jump in sales at his existing location, he decided that the move, supported by advertising in the local theater, would be a good idea. "We know it works because we offer a discount with a movie stub," says Brumley, 26, "and we get as many as 370 ticket stubs returned per month."

Yaron Goldman, 26, a partner in four McAlister's Deli franchises in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, also relies on cinema advertising to boost business. He likes to create slides that have movie tie-ins; some recent headlines include "I Know What You Ate Last Summer" and "A Spud's Life." Says Goldman, "It's driven our Friday night business up almost 40 percent at one of our locations. It lets us target our area much more effectively than, say, radio."

On-screen advertising is also cheaper than other media outlets. Though prices vary according to market and theater, the average cost for a local slide advertising buy is $33 per screen, per week-before any discounts.

On a national level, National Cinema Network in Kansas City, Missouri, is just one cinema advertising company that offers entrepreneurs access to a broad (and primarily adult) audience.


Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey. She is currently compiling a marketing workbook titled Promote Your Business. E-mail her at moranmarketing@erols.com.


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