Coming soon to a theater near you: New models
Dodge, Kia use movies for summer car debuts
Dodge used the summer movie season to introduce its new Dart compact sedan to 73 million moviegoers.
A 60-second Dart commercial, "How to Change Cars Forever," played in 1,400 U.S. theaters from July 20 to Aug. 31, said Jason Russ, head of Dodge advertising.
Four minutes before the start of such hit movies as The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy, the commercial was shown to theater audiences.
"They're a captive audience with few side distractions," said Mark Malmstead, manager of Dodge media. He added, though, that cinema commercials should be entertaining.
Dodge and Kia are making cinema advertising an important part of car launches and reintroductions this summer. Kia, for example, last week launched a monthlong cinema and TV advertising campaign to roll out the redesigned 2013 Kia Soul compact.
Cinema advertising costs about the same per viewer as prime-time TV, but cinema viewers tend to have slightly better recall of content than TV viewers, Russ said.
Dodge likes cinema commercials during the summer, Russ said. Students are out of school, the heat drives people to air-conditioned theaters and big movie production companies time major releases for that season, he said.
Sprague: Cinema commercials must entertain.
Dodge believes cinema advertising contributed to a big spike in visits to the brand's main Web site in August, Malmstead said. Dodge was doing little other than some social media promotion and cinema advertising of the Dart during August. Yet average daily Web visits to the Dodge site rose from 96,000 in July to 116,000 in August, Russ said.
"Not all of that is attributable [to the movie advertising], but it had to have a big impact," he said. Dodge sold more than 3,000 Darts in August after the car's U.S. launch in June, the company said.
Cinema advertising should be entertaining to fit the mood of moviegoers, said Malmstead.
The "How To Change Cars Forever" commercial is a lighthearted snapshot of how a sleep-deprived car designer works around creativity-killing internal committees to design a Dart that's fun to drive and has plenty of connectivity.
This is the fourth year in a row Kia has combined movie advertising with TV to promote the Soul with a new commercial featuring singing and dancing hamsters, said Michael Sprague, executive vice president for marketing.
Said Sprague: "If it's in a cinema, it has to be entertaining. You can't just show a car driving through the countryside."
You can reach David Barkholz at email@example.com. -- Follow David on and