As an advertising professional, I’ll admit it: watching commercials prior to a feature presentation in a movie theatre is what I would call a slight agitation of mine (others may call it harassment).
I’m forced to unwillingly gaze up at these advertisements commanding my attention on a gigantic movie screen. Hurray.
Yet marketers have found a new way of beating the boredom and irritation of movie goers with social mobile marketing. Perhaps no longer will people have to squirm in their seats at the site of yet another hair mousse or energizing drink commercial (have we not seen enough of those already?).
TimePlay Inc., a Toronto-based company, is appropriating a push strategy towards such captive audiences and encouraging engagement with products and services. TimePlay Inc. is placing interactive ads throughout Cineplex theatres based in the Greater Toronto Area that screen before feature presentation.
TimePlay Inc. hopes to encourage smart phone users to download apps onto their phones or call a number on the movie screen that allows them to participate in a company’s or agency’s marketing plan.
For example, Ford asked the audience to text in their vote as to whether or not they should incorporate more male or female leads in the movie industry; nearly 18,000 downloads were made of the interactive app in the first month of the campaign launch.
According to Susan Krashinsky of the Globe and Mail, interactive advertising has become a trend and advertisers are all about reaching people at a “dead time” with their smart phones through contests, coupons and other incentives.
This all sounds like a pocket full of roses, but most advertisers seem to be approaching this opportunity all wrong. The idea of connecting with people with their
companion mobile device that goes everywhere with them is a smart tactic, yet customers may feel vulnerable that marketers can reach them day or night and bombard them with messages to interact with a company’s product or service.
Thus the question of where the motivation is to encourage interaction remains. There is no guarantee that customers will be motivated or feel “energetic” enough to engage just because marketers can now reach them through clever means.
Additionally, not everyone can participate. Mobile interaction requires smart phones, something a little more sophisticated than the regular flip phone. According to Krashinsky, 40% of mobile users in Canada own a smart phone, meaning fewer than half are unable to respond. Lastly, not all mobile users are aware of how to utilize apps.
The first step for advertisers is therefore to motivate audiences to interact in spite of conditions that may seem too complicated or time-consuming to do on their phones. Marketers then need to teach people how to interact with companies on a clear, step-by-step process. And hopefully, this move will make social mobile marketing more of a good thing.