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Cineplex is Canada’s oldest and largest theatre chain, but the brand had a problem. Despite being extremely well known by virtually all Canadians, consumers held very little affinity for the theatre chain – only connecting to the movies they played, rather than the brand itself.
To get consumers to connect emotionally to the Cineplex brand rather than their movies, we made a movie about Cineplex. A Balloon for Ben is a heart-warming animated short about a world where balloons are filled with the light of film. An analogy to the magical, immersive experience of the theatre, it tells the story of a father, who, like many fathers, struggles to get away from work and find time for his son. The story reminds Canadians that the theatre experience is about more than just seeing movies – it’s about making time for what you love. The film premiered on social media during the 2016-17 holiday season when it was most likely to be shared, and was shown in theatres during the pre-show before every movie.
The film garnered over 13 million views – with more than a million of those views in the first 24 hours. True to the film’s objective, A Balloon for Ben drove a 77% increase in brand favorability and a 9% lift in positive brand impressions. And those who viewed the film had 54% more Cineplex search queries. Visits to Cineplex.com also surpassed 146,000, beating objectives by almost 300% with an average online engagement of 7.5 minutes.
The film’s success contributed to a record first quarter for Cineplex in 2017. Campaign-themed online gift cards sold out within 24 hours, generating more than $650,000 in added revenue. Most importantly, the film sparked dialogue across Canada, earning national print media features in newspapers such as The Globe and Mail and National Post around the ongoing struggle facing fathers trying to balance work and family.