Technology has advanced rapidly during the last 25 years, and I have been lucky enough to experience the changes firsthand. The development of new communication and entertainment channels such as social media, YouTube, VOD, and streaming made the tape recorder, VHS, and now even CDs obsolete. However, there is one type of media that has survived all these changes, has been enhanced, and now attracts mass audiences with a variety of interests. That medium is cinema.
What I like the most about cinema is that, despite all the breakthroughs in its industry, its core concept hasn’t changed. People still have to buy tickets to watch a certain movie at a certain time (except now it is done online); then they must physically come to the theater to watch the movie, rather than streaming it online while sitting on the sofa. Moreover, the general experience has remained the same: The cinema lights go down, darkness fills the room, and everyone needs to be quiet so as not to spoil the experience for others.
Movie directors and producers recognized the power of the big screen a long time ago and made efforts to adapt their “products” to improve the experience at the cinema. Take George Lucas, who got tired of waiting for the right special effects to be available and founded Industrial Light & Magic. Or Christopher Nolan, who uses an IMAX camera to enhance the visual impact of his films—incredibly challenging, but a breakthrough for the industry and, more important, for its storytelling. The moment you hear “Why so serious?” you immediately conjure up Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker.
Some might take cinema for granted. In Paris or New York, you can easily go and watch the classics at an art house cinema. In the Middle East, by contrast, there are still some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, where cinema only became available a few months ago. Adoption has been immediate (a whopping 2,500 screens are expected to open across Saudi Arabia by 2030).In my opinion, it is through meaningful media like this that brands can best communicate their products to the consumer without diminishing the entertainment experience (there are exceptions, of course). Film is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, and in the cinema it is amplified. An amazing audiovisual experience enhances brands’ and products’ appeal and builds desire, because your favorite movie character or actor is experiencing it too. At the end of the day, everyone knows what car James Bond likes to drive….