Theater chain Cineplex positions its more than 160 Canadian locations as happy spaces offering escape from pandemic anxiety in "Love Letter," a spot from Zulu Alpha Kilo and director James Arthurs.
As folks put away their ubiquitous phones and get snug in their seats, the ad begins: "When the lights go down, we gaze up. We turn off our thoughts. We turn off the world."
"The sound moves us," the narration continues. "Our senses are full. This is all that matters now. Together we laugh. We cry. We fear. Feel wonder. And far away from everyday life, when the world stops, and the show starts, our escape begins."
As for Cineplex, the simple visuals prove appealing. Lit by the glow from the big screen—which remains unseen—the cast does a nice job conveying reactions through facial gestures, popcorn spills and so forth.
Agency creative lead Zak Mroueh explains how the work came together: "Our strategy was focused on the idea that the moment the lights go down is a catalyst for immersing people into the multisensorial experience of a Cineplex theater: the people, sights, sounds and tastes all work together to deliver that escape. We wanted to build something that romanticized each part of that moment, so people could be reminded of the magic of the movie theater, what they miss when watching a movie at home, and how much they've missed it during Covid times. Interestingly, our creative team Nick Asik and Jenny Luong presented the script a year before, but the timing wasn't right. When we zeroed in on our strategy, it felt like the stars aligned."
Client and agency ran a "reopening" reel before—back in June 2020, by screening How to Train Your Dragon across a 40-foot Toronto YMCA wall. Alas, life didn't return to normal—at least not for long, at any rate—and theaters mostly stayed closed. Today, the Delta variant continues to cause concern, so this "Love Letter" could likewise prove premature.
The ad will run mainly in theaters as part of pre-show festivities, with social video, radio and digital banners rounding out the campaign. Out-of-home elements portray Cineplex as "the original escape room," and invite folks to "cheat" on their sofas by ditching at-home viewing for a night out at the movies.
The ads fit into a trend of marketing designed to boost sectors hit hard by coronavirus-related closures. Other examples include this star-studded, Oprah-narrated push for Broadway, and a Jägermeister-Post Malone pairing to aid indie music artists and venues.
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
CCO: Zak Mroueh
Head of Design: Stephanie Yung
CD/Writer : Nick Asik (Cinema/OOH/Social), Dan Cummings (Cinema/OOH), Ian Simpson (OOH)
CD/Art Director: Jenny Luong (Cinema/OOH/Social), Catherine Allen (OOH/Social), Rose Sauquillo (Social)
Writer: Laura Biggar (OOH/Social)
Designer: Jeff Watkins
Account Team: Robyn Morrissey, Risa Kastelic
Agency Producer: Milena Malovic, Elvira Labate, Revital Grunberg, Eileen Meng
Clients: Sara Moore, Greg Ambrose, Kimber Slater, Mike Lucas, Stephanie Critelli
Production House: Zulubot
Director: James Arthurs
Executive Producer: Tom Evans
Producer: Mitch Cappe, Adam Palmer
Post-Production Company: Zulubot
Editor: Max Lawlor, Brian Noon, Mallory Robbins
Post-Production Producer: Mariya Guzova, Gina Simone, Sarah Dayus
Colour The Vanity
Online Editor: Lev Bravo
Animation: The Vanity
Video Audio: Toast & Jam
Voice Director: Thomas Neuspiel
Sound Editor: Kai Koschmider
Composer: Andy Huckvale
Audio Engineer: Andrew McCready
Video Audio Producer: Matt De Luca
Audio Mnemonic: 6 Degrees Music and Sound
Radio Voice Director: Christian Goutsis
Radio Sound Engineer: James Allinson
Radio Producer: Carolyn Ruether
Studio Director: James Graham
Studio Artist: Pavel Petrycki
Studio Retoucher: Jim Tinios, Gary Chuntz
Developer: Ariana Emond, Kyle Collins