Marketing to a Captive Audience

Marketing to a Captive Audience

Every day we are exposed on average to over 4000 advertisements – marketers are fighting for every inch of marketing real estate whether it be offline or online channels. Living in an era, where consumers’ attention span is getting shorter every year, this is an uphill task for marketers. This scarcity of advertisement real estate is why some marketers prefer captive audience marketing techniques.

Let’s go back to 2010, a small incident which gave Captive audience marketing the much-needed limelight – Times Magazine wrote an article about schools selling advertising space in their hallways and other spaces, to marketers who wanted to advertise their products/services. The children had no option other than to view those advertisements when they crossed the hallways every day. This is Captive Audience Marketing in practice. The public reaction was mixed regarding the commercialization of educational institutions.  

Advertisements in movie theatres are another example of captive audience marketing. Similarly, advertisements on metro trains- both inside and outside the train can be regarded the same. Ads in the theatres before the start of the movie and during intermission are classic examples of marketing to a captive. Captive Audience Marketing is intrusive and ineffective and the roll-over ads that come during YouTube or Facebook videos are a testament to that. 

However, despite to contrary belief Captive audience marketing is not dead – it has simply evolved to be less intrusive and more subtle. Theatres being the conventional choice of marketing to captive audiences, has undergone extensive market research for development of insights. One such study is the market research project undertaken by GroupM owned interactive TV. The study titled ‘At a theatre near you’ defined the average moviegoer as young, premium and affluent. 71% of the moviegoers fall in the age group of 15-24 years and 61% belong to the affluent class, NCCS A. One of the most important insights for marketers was that 50% of the moviegoers are open and willing to view advertisements before the start of the movie and during the intermission period. Also, more than 50% of the audience pay more attention to theatre ads than TV ads. Another interesting find was that movie goers on average arrive at the hall 15 mins before the show time.  

So how did such studies help brands or marketers? 

Brands now knew who the captive audience was and what their behavior was inside the theatres. This enabled brands to have a good estimate of the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Coming to the best practices of marketing to a captive audience, the success story of Manyavar sheds light on how they invested in what is known as the ‘gold spot’- the 60 seconds before the start of the movie. Manyavar used an integrated marketing strategy to achieve high brand recall on other digital and offline marketing platforms. 

If we are to generalize the ingredients of a successful marketing strategy to a captive audience 

  • Marketing to the right audience: The captive audience must be marketed with relevant products and services 
  • Aligning the captive marketing initiatives to the overall marketing strategy 
  • The most important aspect is having a captivating idea. This is true not only for marketing to captive audiences but also for all sorts of marketing initiatives. A captivating idea is the adhesive that can retain the attention of the audience. 

Elaborating further on the concept of captivating ideas, Disney and their marketing strategies are a classic example of how captivating ideas are always effective. Disney’s marketing strategy revolves around building feelings of nostalgia through multi-channel marketing. Disney tells incredible stories that captivates their audience- irrespective of whether it is a captivated audience or not. Story telling is at the core of their adverts – a time tested effective method. 

Captivate audience is only the medium of distribution and at the core of the advertisement is the captivating idea- an idea that converts the audience into leads or prospects. For marketing to captivate audiences, the best tips can be summarized as below: 

  • The product/service being sold should be small – even if the ultimate goal is to sell a big-ticket product. E.g.  for a car related ad, the call to action should be booking a demo or downloading a brochure. 
  • The art of being subtle – For marketing to a captivated audience, the adver should be subtle. People do not appreciate having to sit through a 30-second video which is trying to hard sell a product or service 
  • The Power of Options: Hulu implemented the unique concept of giving the audience the chance to let them know if the ad being shown as relevant to them or not. A negative feedback resulted in Hulu trying to adjust its ads to show more relevant ones. 

Captive audience marketing is both effective and affordable when implemented right. Most importantly captive audience marketing must be well synced with the overall marketing strategy for the product. 

Leave a Reply