Anyone in advertising knows that as the temperature goes up, traditional media consumption goes down. This is why the only programs on TV at the moment are cheesy Christmas movies or Simpsons re-runs, and Summer media space is sold at discounted rates. Instead of giving up or slowing down your media spend during this time of the year, consider how you can do things differently – like getting involved with my favourite Summer marketing tool, outdoor cinema.

Outdoor cinema is slowly regaining its popularity, although is quite different to the traditional ‘drive-in’ concept. Moonlight Cinemas is a company which runs outdoor cinema complexes in central CBD locations in all major capital cities, with Kings Park as Perth’s venue. Essentially you sit on the grass, under the stars, and watch a movie! You can bring a picnic dinner, or purchase something from the on-site caterers (and yes this includes alcohol). Films range from new releases, to classic and cult films. The season generally runs from late November to Mid March each year. There are other companies running a similar concept all over Australia.

Last year I was privileged to be presented with Moonlight’scorporate sponsorship packages for consideration for any of our clients. I was amazed at the amount of flexibility and brand/product integration that was possible with the packages – a perfect supplementary marketing approach when traditional media takes a few months off.

Here’s just a few examples of what you could do, depending on the level
of sponsorship:
Give away product samples, by sales staff or from a kiosk or display
Sell product through the onsite caterer
Develop branded bean-bag chairs
Have a reserved piece of lawn for special invited guests or lucky patrons
Plus pre movie, website and e-newsletter banner advertising to complement your on-site activity

Kraft enacted an excellent campaign a few years back, where they actually created a Kraft restaurant which served different salads with their range of salad dressings, while people enjoyed the film. People sat in an exclusive fenced off area on branded bean bag chairs, where they were served by waiters and received the full restaurant experience.

Today I read about Lindt’s sponsorship of the St George OpenAir Cinema, with a campaign they called the ‘First Film You Can Taste’. As people entered the cinema they received a Lindor chocolate, followed by a Cinema ad discussing the best possible way to enjoy the chocolate (integrating sampling and advertising for full product engagement).

Outdoor cinema sponsorship packages are very affordable, and present a rare opportunity to be innovative and as crazy as you like. Or, if all else fails, hold your own outdoor cinema!

This will be my last blog for 2009, so I hope you all have a wonderful festive break and we will meet again in 2010!