cinema, public relating

Stepping up to the plate: the opportunity for brands to save a valuable part of Sydney’s media infastructure

Academy_twin running out of time, Paddington's Academy Twin theatre is under threat of closure, image courtesy Sydney Film School

the rise of the multiplex may have brought convenience to the cinema experience but it has done so at quite a cost; both in terms of the price to attend a cinema, but more importantly in the ability to see non-mainstream releases.  small independent cinema allows you to explore the long tail of movie making, to take a break from the populist output of mainstream studios and enjoy movies that challenge, provoke and stimulate.

and so its hard to see as anything but tragic the news today that the Academy Twin Cinema in
Paddington is to close after very nearly one hundred years.  there's full and comprehensive commentary of the announcement by Palace Cinemas courtesy of a post on Scott Henderson's Dark Habits blog.  the Sydney Morning Herald article can be viewed here.

but I can't help but think, and suggest, that there's a significant opportunity here.  brand after brand invests in cinema to reach and engage with audiences.  they do so because they view that audience as valuable – be it attitudinally, behaviourally or (though I don't like saying it) demographically – to their brand and marketing efforts.

take for example alcohol brands.  in 2009 – according to Nielsen – the alcohol category spent over $10m on cinema advertising in Australia, over 10% of total media spend in the category.  individual brands have made significant commitments to the channel; Chivas Regal invested $654k in cinema in 2009, Russian Standard vodka invested $344k and Smirnoff $250k.  in all cases the investment represented over 30% of each brands' total media spend – a significant commitment.

whilst the media landscape is evolving sometimes beyond recognition, the fundamental trilogy of components in many ways remains unchanged – the brand, the audience and the media space.  the tools and tactics may change but these pillars don't.  our trade and our skill is in advising brands where and how to invest to reach an audience.

and herein lies the opportunity.  is there a brand out there that wants to invest in a media space not just to reach an audience, but to save that very media space from extinction?  is there a brand in Australia with a commitment to cinema that goes as far as bringing a loved and cherished venue back from the brink.

the (not comprehensive) argument against.  (1) it represents a huge investment in a relatively small audience (2) it's a long-term commitment to a space that a marketing manager may want to move away from as marketing strategies change (3) its geographically limiting

the (not comprehensive) argument for. (1) it demonstrates an overcommitment to a valuable audience (2) it brings consistency to a marketing schedule (3) the potential PR value is huge

besides there's precedent…  O2 in the UK has made an unequivocal commitment to music by redeveloping the Millennium Dome into the O2, and similarly rebranding the music Academies.  the economic case for investing in a media space for the medium to long term must be able to be made.

so here's the call…  who wants to save a bit of media?  could any marketing managers or planners or strategists who think that a brand on which they work could help, please come forward…  your time has come…  and its running out.

content creating, CRM-ing, public relating, social media-ising, user-generating

Planning for a start not an end: how Skype’s Phone Box Experiment is encouraging us all to call more landlines by sending their man into the middle of nowhere

so you're Skype and you're brilliant and everyone using you loads for free internet to internet calls.  but the value ready to be unlocked in your business is in paid for calls to mobiles and landlines.  what to do?  …well in an email this morning from Skype they pointed me in the direction of their solution…  in a cool idea, Rob Cavazos has journeyed into the middle of nowhere and is awaiting our calls, whilst always staying within the frame of a camera.

the website seamlessly introduces you to the idea whilst clearly articulating the options and benefits of adding credit to your Skype account so that you make calls to non-internet destinations.

the challenge now is amplification, amplification, amplification.  Skype need to ensure they capitalise on their investment in getting Rob into the middle of nowhere and land the idea in spaces and places beyond their site.  they have a YouTube channel which is a great start, but I can't seem to track down any kind of live feed?  the project now needs to go into overdrive to create WOM and conversations in and around what's going on with their experiment…

getting their man there was one thing, I look forward to seeing if Skype can pull off the other trick of ensuring that the idea has traction and momentum so that their idea is a starting not an end point.

public relating

Because your phone could be worth $10,000: what to make of the LG buy back


so the above came my way describing how LG are looking to buy back five of their chocolate phones.  the lucky owners are set to gain $10,000 if one of the phones are theirs.  one senses a PR machine behind all of this, but it does demonstrate a very interesting way of engaging with the owners of your phones…

all a bit Willy Wonkas Golden Ticket in reverse, but there are five LG customers out there set to gain a fair bit of cash and a new handset to boot just for owning one of the phones.  hope that it is able to go further and amplify the reason behind all of this so that potential customers are exposed to events…

because at the heart of this is a nice old Mystery Box.  why do they want to buy the phones back?  why just five?  why these ones?  and where there are mystery boxes there's media to earn.  and we like earned media, not just because its free, but because it comes from the conversation, from the buzz, the discussion and the debate.  and that's very valuable media.

all good, and if you own an LG phone… good luck!