Why Odeon’s new brand strategy won't be at ‘mercy’ of movie slate
Cinema chain refocuses on the experience it can provide movie-goers to stand out from rivals and reduce dependency on studios.
Odeon no longer wants to be beholden to the film slate and so has launched its biggest brand campaign to date. In doing so it pivots its marketing strategy away from showcasing films to selling the cinema experience.
There was a titanic shift when film release windows reduced from 16 weeks to 45 days. It's forced a rethink at the top cinemas. When a movie comes to the home faster, the business has had to get better at selling the experience it provides. Furthermore, there have been some droughts in release schedules, some movies are still backlogged from the pandemic.
Odeon’s group head of marketing and campaigns, Nicole Burdett, says there is still a job to be done to “rekindle people’s love of cinema”.
Enter the ‘Feel Cinematic’ campaign from creative agency Elvis.
“We needed to create an ownable emotional connection, focusing on the benefits of coming to see a film at an Odeon cinema, to ensure that people who decide to watch a film on the big screen, choose to do that at an Odeon cinema,” Burdett says.
The 40-second hero film is directed by Jack Cole at Kode Media and follows a cinema goers’ journey through an Odeon cinema from drinking a cocktail to eating popcorn and reclining on the seats. Each cinema touchpoint transports him into the world of cinema.
Camilla Yates, strategy director at Elvis, says Odeon marketing its brand rather than the films it shows is a big step change. “Suddenly, it means Odeon has something to talk about in its own right, rather than being at the mercy of the film studios and the releases that are going to come out,” she says.
Competition with the streamers has hit cinemas hard with Cineworld filing for bankruptcy in September as cinema-goers stayed home. Now studio-owned streamers like Disney+, Paramount+, and HBOMax hold complete power over the release window. In France Disney threatened to bypass the cinema entirely for the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever if the government didn’t relax its Covid cinema rules. This means brands like Odeon can't rely on using IP to bring in audiences.
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“Directors, actors and film fans are calling out for films to be released on the big screen over streaming,” explains Burdett. That is why Odeon needed a big advertising push.
“There feels no better time to show the nation exactly why a trip to an Odeon Cinema is so amazingly immersive and transformative, and why their favorite actors are demanding their work be up on the big screen. That immersion is something you just can't get on your sofa.”
The campaign brings to life Odeon’s four brand pillars: The audiovisual experience; food and beverages; the customer experience and the human experience.
“So we had these four pillars that we needed to translate into something interesting and relevant to guests because it felt like the pillars were internal brand strategy and hadn’t been communicated to the guest,” Yates explains.
The spot is supported by 10-second vignettes along with digital, social, radio, audio and out-of-home within Odeon sites. Elvis partnered with Mobsta to deliver programmatic video media buy based on five-mile proximity to an Odeon screen.
What's next for Odeon?
The next phase of Elvis’ plans for Odeon is to communicate the emotional effects going to the cinema has. “We’re interested in how cinema actually can improve your well-being,” for example Yates says.
“Where we want to go next is to build on this idea that Odeon is creating a really meaningful effect and dig into what that looks like or what that could look like from a well-being perspective,” she says.