Page 5: The launch
Before the cinema construction was finished, the planning for the launch was well underway. The starting point was to set the objectives for launch activities. A launch should make customers aware of the new product and make them want to find out more. A key element for UCI was to develop a customer-based strategy which would create a high level of awareness - generating interest and creating a desire by customers to try it out. The mnemonic often used by marketers to describe this approach is AIDA:
- A - A customer’s attention is captured and he or she is made aware of the product.
- I - The impact of the promotion stimulates the customer’s interest.
- D - The customer thinks that they are deprived because they have not tried the product, and this stimulates a desire to use it.
- A - Action involves trying the product out.
Action words are a good way of making the customer think about doing something. UCI used ‘The Great Escape’ tagline teaser to initiate the campaign at Blanchardstown. The idea was that customers would feel that the cinema could provide escapism from their humdrum day-to-day activities.
The theme translated across a variety of activities including radio commercials and bus advertising. Marketers often talk about ‘abovethe- line’ and ‘below-the-line’ activities. Above-the-line activities refer to media such as the press, TV and radio for which commission is paid to an advertising agency. The launch at Blanchardstown crossed from abovethe- line advertising, including radio commercials, into below-the-line advertising in which fee-based promotional techniques were directly marketed at target grouped groups of customers. These included:
- the use of direct marketing - sending leaflets and mail-shots within identified areas
- using fake wheel clamps together with spoof parking tickets placed on selected cars in streets and car parks as an amusing way of creating exposure and encouraging people to talk about the new UCI
- creating Hollywood celebrity lookalikes to visits pubs and cafes in Dublin to show that something exciting was happening within the City.
The opening weekend
The opening night is a vitally important starting point for any new location. At Blanchardstown, it was important to use the opening night as a public relations exercise to build a positive image and generate a receptive external environment. A mobile rig helped to gather in the crowds. Celebrities were invited together with journalists and TV stations and Patsie Kensit opened the cinema.
More than 80,000 customers visited the cinema during the first few days. Children’s party rooms were fully booked. 2,200 tubs of popcorn were sold as well as 3,000 soft drinks, 450 coffees and 300 gifts and souvenirs. The launch was a success. It was now critical to evaluate whether this new concept would stand the test of time.