A couple of years ago, when the staff at Scarborough Lumber, with five locations in California, searched for new ways to drive traffic to their garden center, they found their solution in a nearby business: the local movie theater.
The nearby theater and restaurant was selling space for local ads to be shown in the time leading up to the start of a movie.
“It took a big part of our budget, but we wanted to give it a try,” says Mikala Clements, store manager. “We’ve done TV, radio, print, everything—and everything eventually is less effective, so we decided to take the plunge.”
The ad package Clements purchased includes the appearance of two ads for the store during the 10 minutes before the start of a movie at the theater. Scarborough Lumber’s ad incorporated a trivia game, which has a photo of a local historical location and asks moviegoers to identify it. The answer appears on the screen shortly after.
“We wanted to tie a game into our advertising,” Clements says.
Each ad comes with a notice that tells moviegoers they can get 15 percent off their total purchases at the garden center if they bring in their ticket stubs within one week of the movie. If moviegoers take their ticket stubs to any of the company’s other locations, they can receive 15 percent off one item.
“Our garden center employees have been tracking purchases that come with these discounts, and the results have been great,” Clements says. “They got more than 250 ticket stubs last year—that’s more than 250 purchases that may not have been made otherwise. Employees want to sign up for a third year of advertising with the theater.”
Take a look around your community and see where you might be able to promote your store. Think of the habits of local residents—what they do and what places of business they frequent. “It’s a different form of advertising, but it’s worked well,” Clements says. “Almost everybody goes to the movies, and they see our ads when they’re just sitting there, waiting for the movie to start. It’s a captive audience, so it’s easier to reach them.”