Cinema advertising finally comes to the US

Commericals steal show at the movies

"Cinema advertising becomes a viable option when "you've got a brand that's connected to the fabric of the culture and if you've got great creative that fits the environment," said Steve Moynihan, managing director at ArnoldMPG, a media-planning agency in Boston. "It's not the best place to sell diapers or green beans."

Regal CineMedia plans to kick off a digitally formatted pre-show full of content and advertising, beginning in select markets at the end of this month. The pre-show is slated to begin about 20 minutes before the advertised movie time. "The idea is to give patrons a better experience and give the marketer a better environment," Mr. Marks said. "Rather than showing trivia, we'll give them a real entertaining bonus. We know they came there for the movie."

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Roger Ebert Q and A regarding advertising in movie theatres: A: "If I were faced with 20 minutes of paid advertising before a movie, I would simply walk out and demand my money back. Commercials are fine when they underwrite TV or subsidize newspapers, which could not exist without them. But when I pay for a ticket, I am personally subsidizing the screening and resent being made into a captive victim. I received an avalanche of mail on this subject, and cannot understand why advertisers would want to attract hostility toward their products by deliberately offending potential customers."