Spoiler Alert: Millennials Do Watch Ads... At The Movies
Millennials are overwhelmed with media options at every touch point, yet cinema continues to break through to them, delivering unrivaled results on key brand measures such as ad recall and purchase intent the highest among all demographic groups. Reinforcing cinema advertising's strength amongst this age group, Millennials are most likely to see a TV ad in cinema for the first time. They also indicated that going to the movies is such an important entertainment activity that they would not give it up, says new research from Insight Strategy Group and Lieberman. This research was commissioned by cinema-advertising leader Screenvision, whose theatres attract audiences of more than 50 percent Millennials, and is part of ongoing research into the behaviors and attitudes of this important, hard-to-reach demographic.
"When we asked Millennials what could replace going to the movies for their entertainment plans, they refused to even consider the thought of life without moviegoing," said Karen Van Vleet, Director at Insight Strategy Group. "It was very surprising and exciting to discover that with all of the options available to Millennials, moviegoing stands out as being so central to their lives."
The two-part research began with an in-depth analysis of advertising research conducted during 2011-2013 with Lieberman, and continued this year through deeper engagement research with Insight Strategy Group.
"Given the scale of Millennials in our audience, and their importance to brands, we have a serious commitment to continually monitor and track the impact that brand's messaging has on them," John McCauley, EVP, CMO, Strategic Alliances, Screenvision. "The immersive and captivating cinema environment is a great place to connect with all audiences. Through this research, we've found that cinema's impact stands out versus all other media with Millennials."
Power of the Preshow
Lieberman highlighted the high-impact of cinema advertising with Millennials as they have at least a 10% higher unaided recall, purchase intent, and likelihood of brand recommendation than any other moviegoing generation. In addition, they are 40% more likely to see a TV ad for The First Time in cinema, and more likely to enjoy the ad in cinema as compared to other generations. 1
Movies are a "Non Negotiable"
Armed with the above, Screenvision embarked on additional research with leading millennial research agency, Insight Strategy Group to understand the impact that is created when millennial lifestyle needs and the moviegoing experience overlap. The test group included Millennials ages 24 to 30 who have seen a movie in theatres in the last three months. Through ethnographies, virtual diaries and focus groups, Screenvision uncovered the importance that going to the movies plays in Millennials' lives.
Perhaps most importantly, going to the movies satisfies the three needs that Millennials are looking to sate through entertainment: escape from daily pressures and stresses, connection and community between friends, and social currency that helps them maintain authority in the pop culture space.
"We're calling this the Entertainment Trifecta: escape, connection and social currency. Unlike other mediums, our research found that going to the movies satisfies all three, while also providing nostalgia evoking warm feelings of going to the movies during childhood," said John McCauley, Screenvision. "With the abundance of entertainment choices, the power of moviegoing resonates as such a key entertainment activity, that it is 'non-negotiable.'
"For advertisers, these findings reinforce the impact of cinema. Given Millennials' predisposition to share and recommend, cinema is a social launching pad for brands," said McCauley.
Advertisers will also be comforted to learn that according to the study, movies, unlike other forms of entertainment, follow social rules that give the audience permission to check out from distractions and focus on the big screen. Several respondents noted that ads can feel novel because it is The First Time seeing them, and that ads are expected and don't feel like an interruption.
"Unlike TV, which can enable viewers to skip ads, going to the movies creates a captive environment for Millennials where advertising is expected. In the theatre, ads are part of the moviegoing experience, not an interruption, and therefore, Millennials don't feel the need to distract themselves," said Van Vleet.
Screenvision is currently sharing the millennial research and inviting brands to participate in the next level of research.
Headquartered in New York, N.Y., Screenvision is a national leader in cinema advertising, offering on-screen advertising, in-lobby promotions and integrated marketing programs to national, regional and local advertisers and providing comprehensive cinema advertising representation services to top tier theatrical exhibitors presenting the highest quality moviegoing experience. The Screenvision cinema advertising network is comprised of over 14,200 screens in 2,200+ theater locations across all 50 states and 94% of DMAs nationwide; delivering through more than 150 theatrical circuits, including 6 of the top 10 exhibitor companies. For more information: http://www.screenvision.com.
ABOUT INSIGHT STRATEGY GROUP
Insight Strategy Group is a research-driven strategy firm that inspires its clients to build innovative and impactful experiences for consumers. Insight's business savvy team of social scientists melds quantitative muscle with qualitative finesse to meet its clients' strategic challenges. Insight gets to the deeper truth of what drives people and their relationships to brands and opens possibilities for growth. Founded in 1998, Insight's services include Thought Leadership Studies, Segmentation/Targeting Strategy, Brand Positioning/Strategy, Brand Tracker Studies, Pilot Testing/Concept Development, and Innovation Workshops. Business categories in which Insight specializes include Millennials, kids (through Insight Kids), media, travel & leisure, fashion & retail, consumer products & electronics, education, and social cause. Insight is based in Tribeca, NYC.
1Source: Screenvision/Lieberman 2011-13, Brand Studies. Millennials = A18-34 n=8,296, Gen X = 35-49 n= 5,492 & Boomers = 50-64 n=1,303. Sample sizes vary on metrics depending on recall levels