With the #CinemaIsBack engagement campaign, BookMyShow attempted to utilize memevertising, tapping on the nostalgia of going to theaters for movies. Through the campaign User engagement saw a steady rise in the charts, surpassing 66% of pre-covid levels on BookMyShow.
This case study explores how the BookMyShow campaign, #CinemaIsBack, leveraged social media to reiterate the safety of watching movies in theaters, attempting to increase footfalls on the website.
The media and entertainment industry has been growing exponentially over the past decades and is close to reaching the $100 billion mark as per media reports. The industry has been facing the wrath of the pandemic but with ease in restrictions, the sector is picking up pace given the government’s keenness on India being a content creation powerhouse and post-production hub of the world. According to the FICCI-EY report 2021, the media and entertainment business is estimated to grow 25% to reach Rs. 1.73 trillion (US$ 23.29 billion) by the end of 2021.
Launched in 2007, BookMyShow, owned and operated by Big Tree Entertainment Pvt Ltd (founded in 1999), is India’s leading entertainment destination with global operations and the one-stop shop for every entertainment need. The firm is present in over 650 towns and cities in India and works with partners across the industry to provide entertainment experiences to millions of customers.
Complementing its cinemas business, the firm also launched ‘BookMyShow Stream’, a TVOD platform hosting award-winning and critically acclaimed content from around the world. With support from investors like TPG Growth, Stripes Group, Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners), Accel, and Network18, BookMyShow is growing beyond India with operations in UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka amongst others.
BookMyShow rolled out the #CinemaIsBack campaign – a six-month-long campaign to encourage audiences to relive the magic of the big screen experience all over again, with all safety measures intact. Executed through digital channels and social media, the #CinemaIsBack campaign is a re-imagination of the good old days of memorable entertainment experiences with friends and family in a new avatar, as people revisit their favorite forms of out-of-home entertainment experiences in the new normal.
With the pandemic restricting movement into the outdoor world, cinemas and the entertainment industry faced a massive deficit in footfall, thus impacting the joy of the big screen experience and bringing business across the industry and the value chain to a complete standstill. With vaccination coverage across eligible adults and teens in the country swelling considerably, restrictions on cinemas were relaxed gradually bringing to the fore.
The objective to boost consumer sentiment on outdoor entertainment and experience the irreplaceable magic of movies on the big screen.
With the onset of the pandemic, the entertainment sector was one of the worst-hit, being the first sector to shut and the last to reopen. After almost 18 months, setting the tone for the recovery of India’s movie and cinema entertainment ecosystem, BookMyShow initiated a 6-month long engagement campaign – #CinemaIsBack encouraging the audiences to witness the magic of big screens once again keeping in mind the necessary safety protocols.
The idea was to create a quirky and nostalgic campaign that is visually and socially engaging.
A meme-based series for digital and social media was decided for execution, which would then be amplified through visual and timely content that invokes the memory of watching the favorite movies on the big screen.
With OTT & streaming platforms taking the lead in bringing movies to audiences through the long-drawn months of the severe pandemic, movie-goers resorted to in-house entertainment. New releases arriving online made it accessible for film enthusiasts to watch movies at home. A lasting second wave caused a large share of the population to be comfortable staying at home. Both the challenge to enable and anticipation of recovery were high across the entire value chain.
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Conceptualized and executed by BookMyShow’s in-house team, the campaign aimed to target entertainment-lovers across age groups, geographic restrictions notwithstanding, and social setups through various social media platforms, with the spotlight on the all-new out-of-home movie entertainment experience – different but not a shred less than earlier!
The #CinemaIsBack campaign also emphasizes the importance of health and safety measures, putting safety squarely at the center of nostalgic and fun-filled entertainment experiences.
Based on quirk and nostalgia, the BookMyShow campaign is a visual, socially engaging, and meme-based series executed on digital and social media.
To amplify the engagement campaign, the platform leveraged its loyal customer base and attempt at driving potential new audiences both on the platform’s mobile app and website through mailers, push notifications along with social media platforms as well as digital media to engage audiences through relevant video, visual and timely content that invokes the memory of watching their favorite movies on the big screen.
The social media posts ranged from the magic of the popping popcorn tub to shaking off the stupor of staying at home, plonking ourselves on the comfortable cushioned chairs cross-legged, food & beverage in hand, gearing up for a relaxed excited watch to spirited discussions of favorite scenes, raising eyebrows at friends with whom we have watched our favourite movies together, the #CinemaIsBack campaign aims to hit the nostalgia and love for movies for more memories and magic.
Further, as a part of the larger campaign, the firm is set to onboard up to 300 brand advocates to highlight the safety measures being undertaken at the cinemas and the experience of going back to theatres. The brand advocates for the campaign will be the users transacting BookMyShow who have been long-term loyalists of the brand using the platform for their movie viewing experience before the pandemic hit the industry.
The campaign resulted in a huge surge in online traffic, boosting sales as debut releases like Sooryavanshi crossed 2.6 million tickets sold while Annaatthe (Tamil) crossed 1.3 million tickets within the first week becoming the first movie to hit the million mark on the platform after the second Unlock in 2021. Marvel’s Eternals sold as many as 700,000 tickets while Malayalam superstar Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup attracted a stellar sale of 1.2 million-plus tickets within the first week itself.
Within the first ten days of movies releasing pan-India,
- Daily consumer traffic surged to reach 76% of pre-covid levels on an average
- User engagement saw a steady rise in the charts, surpassing 66% of pre-covid levels on BookMyShow.
- Consumers from Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad were the quickest to return back to the movies contributing 48% of the traffic recovery
The BookMyShow engagement campaign created and boosted an overall positive sentiment across markets – metros, tier 2 further towns in the country with masses coming back to the theatres full-throttle leading to houseful shows while keeping up with mandated limited occupancies.
Even with OTTs taking up the mantle for the 18 odd months of the pandemic, it was exciting to see Indian cinephiles turn up in large numbers to relive and experience the magic of the silver screen all over again. Festive season and the blockbuster Diwali releases were the cherry on top for families to enjoy some quality time together, back at the movies.
Commenting on the campaign, Vamsi Murthy, Head – Marketing, BookMyShow, said, “We are thrilled to launch our latest campaign #CinemaIsBack as the country gears up to witness the magic of big screens once again. With cinemas opening in India coupled with an exciting lineup of big-budget movies that have started to hit the screens from Diwali and for the next 6 months and beyond, we are excited to deliver and communicate an authentic, nostalgic, and irreplaceable experience through the #CinemaIsBack campaign.”
“The success of the campaign within the first few days itself has been phenomenal, setting the wheels of the business in motion with a tremendous surge in traffic, user engagement as also absolute ticket sales. Over the next few months, we look forward to welcoming film enthusiasts and cinephiles #BackToTheatres for a safe entertainment experience through this festive season and beyond. We are confident that the stage has been set, for a long-pending revival of the cinema business in India with all the standard safety protocols in place”, he added.