Cineplex Entertainment: Cineplex’s new (and improved!) social strategy — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Cale Johnson of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

2:50 —'s Kurt Vanderah introduces Cineplex Entertainment's Justine Melman.

2:51 — Justine: I'm going to tell you the story of how we launched our new social strategy. We had been on social for years, but what had happened — like what happens with most brands, I think — is you're on social, you're posting, you're measuring engagement, but it's not tying to anything. Our executive team decided we really wanted to do more of it to drive “bums in seats” (sell more tickets).

2:52 — Justine: We put out an RFP, because we knew we needed help. We called it “owning social” — which was very ambitious. We wanted to be social media's most engaging and influential brand in social media.

2:53 — Justine: As soon as you leave a movie, what do you want to do? You want to talk about it. You've got all these exciting things you want to share about your experience seeing that movie. We recognized that, and saw it as an opportunity to celebrate what people were doing when they left the theater.

2:55 — Justine: Then we looked at when these conversations were taking place. In film, there is a ton of chatter — studios, celebrities, fans — and you find that when the movie is over, everyone stops talking about it, except the fan. We discovered a massive spike in conversations when the movie opens.

2:56 — Justine talks about finding unique conversations: We noticed this huge trend of people filming themselves watching a trailer for the first time and sharing it on social. This showed us there's this user-generated content that is naturally occurring around film.

2:57 — Justine: So, in our learnings we found there were three things we could own: Ownable behavior, ownable moment, and ownable conversation. We took all this to launch our strategy: #FanScreen. It's all about letting our fans celebrate their passion for movies. When we looked at rolling it out, we really wanted to understand in the lifecycle of a film, what was the point we could own it?

2:58 — The buzz starts when the movie is announced. Up until it's release, there's a lot information being shared — casting, trailers, cast and crew talking about it. The movie opens, and then it leaves theaters and 60 – 90 days later it becomes available on DVD.

2:59 — Justine: We tried to find out what moments we could own. When the movie is announced, we participate. When the movie comes out, we own it. And then when movies become available in store, we call it the “reunite phase.”

3:00 — Justine: It starts with a strategy document that we call, “Calls to Create.” For any title, it will include up to three. Justine shared a bunch of creative campaigns they did for various films where they worked to create conversations that were unique.

3:01 — Justine shared their FanScreen booth & hashtags. The booth captures fans' reactions to films and responses to calls to create. Their hashtag, #FanScreen, plus the movie hashtag, helps them build and track the overall conversations. They created a FanScreen Community Hub where they found social content on the path-to-purchase can increase conversion rate by 5-7%.

3:02 — Justine: So, how are we doing? We launched May 15, 2015 for Pitch Perfect 2. We executed 21 campaigns in 8 months. And biggest challenges have been process and analytics. It was shocking how much was involved in the process — we had to be very, very careful about how we document and plan it out so we could replicate it over title after title. We made sure we were doing it in a way that we could accurately learn from what we were doing by making sure our process was locked down.

3:05 — Justine said they brought on a true data analyst who is very, very smart who makes so much of their data analysis possible — and she encouraged the audience to do it too if they had the ability.

3:06 — Justine's numbers: Twitter engagement is up 66% year-over-year and their Facebook engagement rate is almost 3x average for vertical. Despite all the success, Justine said she'd give her team an A but their progress so far only a B; says that even though they've had a ton of success, they have a lot of work to do and a lot of opportunities to do even more.

Justine offers four things to take away: 1) Find what you can own in the conversation about your brand or product; 2) Find your unique voice that your competitors can't speak in; 3) It's about process, and it's about analytics, and it's about patience to understand you have to take the time to get those right; 4) Create something comprehensive — something that isn't about a single campaign.


Q: I know you said you have about 80% market share in Canada, and this was all about driving more ticket sales, do you feel this has been successful? And has it been from the competition, or from people who wouldn't normally go to the theater at all?

A: Justine: When we rolled this out, we did it in a phased approach. The first was to get in a conversation, the second was to drive an own the conversation, the third was to seed conversation with our products, and the fourth is to drive sales. We're in phase three right now. We sell a lot of movie tickets online, so what we do right now track what drives those people to those transactions. But we're just starting to test the waters more with the ticket sales approach — because at first we didn't want to push people too hard with the sales message until we saw fans embracing us with our message.

Q: The same hashtag is getting used across different movies, how does that work?

A: Justine: That's why we always use the #FanScreen hashtag along with the movie one — and we always use the hashtag that the studio came up with.