"One of the greatest challenges is that marketers don't know how to use the cinema," said Cliff Marks, president-marketing for Regal CineMedia, a subsidiary of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S theater owner with 530 locations and 6,000 screens. "I don't believe that mainstream agencies are accustomed to making advertising for the big screen."
Aspect is known for movie-studio trailers, TV commercials for movies and in-cinema movie trailers. Some of its recent movie ad efforts include "Spider-Man," "The Hulk," "Men in Black II," "The Sum of All Fears," "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and "The Shipping News."
The agency believes it can translate that big-screen entertainment sensibility to consumer product ads in either cinema or TV venues. Last summer it produced TV spots for Burger King Corp. in conjunction with Sony Pictures Entertainment's "Men In Black II," and worked with WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co. and client Ford Motor Co. to produce two three-minute TV spots for the season premiere of critically acclaimed action-hour "24" on News Corp.'s Fox network.
"The real dynamic is that an advertising agency mind-set is what can you do for 27 inches" of screen, said Tim Tennent, president of Aspect. "The dynamic of a 30-foot or 70-foot screen in a dark environment is a completely different skill set as well as communication style."
Regal said clients will not be required to use Aspect, which Mr. Tennant said can provide a full range of marketing services, from ads at the ticket counter to in-lobby messages and retail ads.
The Aspect alliance comes one week after Regal CineMedia launched in 12 markets its digitally delivered 20-minute pre-movie Digital Content Network, in-theater programming that also carries ads targeted by film or by theater. Two new content providers to the network were recently added-Universal Studios and book publisher Convex Group, which produces a series of books called "How Stuff Works." General Electric Co.'s NBC and AOL Time Warner's TBS were previously announced content partners for Regal CineMedia.
The Digital Content Network is expected to be in 80% of Regal theaters by late this year.