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Figure 13-11 The Show Before the Show: Movie theaters are screening commercials, along with previews, before the main attraction.

Source: National Association of Theatre Owners, individual cinema circuits.

Figure 13-11 The Show Before the Show: Movie theaters are screening commercials, along with previews, before the main attraction.

Source: National Association of Theatre Owners, individual cinema circuits.

advertises on the video of Casper. Disney often promotes its upcoming movies as well as Disney World (10 minutes of advertising preceded The Lion King on video).30 (If you have ever rented a Disney movie, you are well aware of this!) The Canadian government has shown "stay in school" spots, knowing that the movies are a good way to reach 12- to 17-year-olds. Dozens of other advertisers have also used this medium, including Sega, AT&T, and DeBeers.

Consumer reaction to ads in movie theaters is mixed. A number of studies have shown that most people think these ads are annoying or very annoying. But in an Advertising Age/Gallup national sample of moviegoers, 35 percent were against a ban on ads in movie theaters and another 21 percent were unsure whether such a ban should be enacted.31 The survey was taken after Walt Disney Co. announced it would stop showing its movies in any theater that runs on-screen advertising along with the films. While advertisers were infuriated, Disney claimed its surveys showed that customers were extremely irritated by such ads and as a result might quit coming to the theaters.32 (Disney still bans ads, and some movie chains refuse to accept them as well.)

Adam Snyder, writing in Brandweek magazine, believes that pushing movies is acceptable but beyond that consumers are likely to react negatively.33 Nevertheless, Blake Thomas, marketing vice president for MGM/UA Home Entertainment, claims, "We could conceivably sell as much air time as we want, since advertisers cannot resist the temptation of reaching tens of millions of viewers."34

Advantages of Movie Theater Advertising Movies provide a number of advantages to advertisers, including the following:

1. Exposure. The number of people attending movies is substantial: over 1.49 billion tickets were sold in 2001.35 Ticket sales are over $7.7 billion per year, and attendance continues to climb.36

2. Mood. If viewers like the movie, the mood can carry over to the product advertised.

3. Cost. The cost of advertising in a theater varies from one setting to the next. However, it is low in terms of both absolute and relative costs per exposure.

4. Recall. Research indicates that the next day about 83 percent of viewers can recall the ads they saw in a movie theater. This compares with a 20 percent recall rate for television.37

5. Clutter. Lack of clutter is another advantage offered by advertising in movie theaters. Most theaters limit the number of ads.

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