NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Moviegoers got more than they bargained for on Friday night, when dancers streamed onto the stage at New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre just prior to a showing of "Amelia." For three and a half minutes, 10 dancers performed what Screenvision says is a first-of-its-kind live in-cinema ad. The "Fitting Dance" was accompanied by images on the movie screen behind the dancers. Only near the end was it revealed that patrons had been watching a lengthy ad for Daffy's.
The dancers and images on screen show people piling on clothes, the idea being that you'll find such good deals at Daffy's that you'll have too many clothes to wear.
Screenvision modified the pre-show program to fit in the ads, which ran Friday and Saturday night at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York and are slated to run again this coming Friday. Patrons received 20% off coupons to Daffy's as part of the promotion. Of the choice not to reveal that the performance was, in fact, an ad for Daffy's until near the end of the time allotted, Mr. Bracker said the brand hoped to be "inventive and watchable."
Daffy's will use footage from the live ads, including the audience's reaction, to create a traditional 30-second spot that will run in select Screenvision theaters beginning around Thanksgiving.
"Marketing disruption has become incredibly popular," said Will Bracker, director-marketing at Daffy's. "We wanted to take that to a venue that hadn't been used before."
Mr. Bracker said the idea came from the retailer's agency of record, Johannes Leonardo, New York. "They came to us with a lot of unique opportunities to break through the clutter," Mr. Bracker said. "We need to do something different to make sure our message is heard loud and clear with the money we have."
Daffy's spent just over $1 million on measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Loren Venturi-Miller, senior VP-national and regional sales at Screenvision, said that live ads are more expensive than a generic out-of-home campaign, declining to specify the cost. The live ads, she said, were already a part of Screenvision's generic offering, though Daffy's is the first marketer to take advantage of the ads.
"It's not the easiest thing to execute," she said. "But with the positive feedback we've gotten, I definitely think it will build awareness that these types of things can take place in our space."
Mr. Bracker is hoping that in the coming weeks the ad will gain traction online, and perhaps even go viral. The retailer plans to post the footage to YouTube and its own web site this week. Though the live ad and the traditional ad that will be created are not specifically focused on the fast-approaching holiday season, Mr. Bracker said the timing is intentional.
"We're aligned to the holiday period," he said. "We're a small off-price retailer that needs to hit home runs."