The Future's Bright: Cinema's Starring Role in Rewarding Consumers

promotional rewards that top the a-list

From cars to groceries, fast food to confectionery, big name brands consistently turn to the big screen when rewarding consumers, incentivising purchases and building brand awareness.

In a recent research survey undertaken by our promotions experts, almost a third of participants aged 25-34 cited cinema or experiential promotions as the most appealing when shopping.

With creative mechanics and innovative redemption methods, geared to provide instantaneous gratification, 77% of brands are now using non-cash rewards as part of consumer promotions.

So, we turned the microscope on cinema’s enduring role as a meaningful non-cash incentive, and it soon became clear that the sway of the big screen is perhaps at its most prominent in the consumer space.

However, there are two brands in particular that have shown incredible confidence in the pull of cinema rewards and their potential to motivate positive changes in consumer behaviour


Launched in 2004, Orange Wednesdays became more of a social consumer movement, rather than a flash in the pan promotion.

Partnering with movie theatres across the UK, mobile network Orange gave customers the chance to redeem 2-for-1 Wednesday cinema tickets. Participating consumers were sent a unique text ticket code upon request that they could present at the box office.

The initiative not only helped to drive brand loyalty and attract new customers, but also installed Wednesdays as the most popular day to go to the cinema outside of the weekend.

 “The results are a testament to the social nature of the program. The incentive program generated approximately thirty million SMS responses between its launch and late October 2011 and ran for 9 years in total.” Gary Schwartz

Orange Wednesdays was the first consumer program to showcase the true potential of cinema rewards, and its ability to alter the way people behave on a mass scale.



When EE, Orange’s parent company, announced they would be pulling the plug on Orange Wednesdays in late 2014 there was a considerable public outcry. The much-loved cinema incentive was obviously still in high demand, so Comparethemarket stepped up to provide the program’s natural successor, Meerkat Movies.

The brand saw cinema as the perfect fit, and the program continues to help them differentiate in a fickle market and ‘reinforce [their]commitment to rewarding customers’ (Mark Vile, Marketing Director).

The new consumer incentive scheme, which became available in April 2015, was introduced to boost repeat site visits and loyalty in a promiscuous market, whose major players had previously based their marketing strategies entirely on dominating share of voice using brand character-led advertising blitzes. (Marketing Week)

The move, which has proven popular with consumers, was a massive statement from Comparethemarket, who were looking to oust main competitors Moneysupermarket.

In an industry that sees 83% of price comparison customers visiting multiple sites when hunting for the best deal , the brand grasped the gauntlet and continue to use the power of cinema to successfully incentivise loyalty.


In line with these notable brand movements, the cinema industry has seen huge global growth over the last few years – with British Film gaining more and more traction as a result.

Not so long ago, awkward questions were being asked about the big screen’s long term stability (due to the emergence of digital devices and home-streaming services such as Netflix),  and many foresaw the downfall of cinema.

However, on the contrary, the industry has bounced back, proving that consumers still value the medium and the unique experience that comes with it.

PwC predicts that cinema admissions will see continued, year on year growth – and the industry is forecasted to drive upwards of 199.4m annual admissions by 2019.

And so, with an expanding audience of steadfast film buffs, that spans across multiple generations, we can expect to see more and more brands using cinema as a meaningful motivator that drives awareness, loyalty and, ultimately, sales.   


Cinema’s impact on consumers is clear for all to see. But it’s down to the brands themselves to deliver these incentives using relevant, appealing mechanics that not only reward audiences, but also create a seamless redemption experience.

“Rewarding consumers with access to live events instead of just discounts on products, as a brand you are now reaching the consumer and giving them an emotional connection.” – Econsultancy

There’s an opportunity to strike a chord with existing audiences, foster new advocates and influence behaviour. The possibilities are far-reaching, and it doesn’t end at promotional marketing. The value of cinema is broad and with the right programs in place, the big screen can impact on people, young and old, from all walks of life.