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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

MAY 24, 2018 //     

Feature Forward: Evolving the movie theater experience for today’s consumer

Credit: Samsung

By: Niki Hetchkop

A trip to the movie theater can transport you to different worlds, make you laugh uncontrollably, take you on an adventure, or make you shed tears for a fictitious character portraying a real-life tragedy. Some of my favorite memories growing up revolve around going to the movie theater, including 11 p.m. Star Wars premieres with my dad on school nights.

Movie theaters have come a long way since the first silent film premiered in 1894. But with domestic movie theater attendance hitting a 25-year low in 2017, there’s an obvious need for big advancements. The industry is challenged with finding enticing ways to bring people out of the comfort of their living rooms and into theaters to watch movies on the big screen. To combat this, movie industry decision makers have adopted some innovative and future-focused technology to lure more customers without having to rely on blockbuster hits such as “Blank Panther” and “The Avengers.” 

Here are some of the latest advancements:

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First-Ever LED Cinema Screen: This past month, Samsung (an Allison+Partners client) launched the first ever DCI-compliant LED movie screen. At 34 feet wide by 17 feet high and featuring 9 million pixels, the new “Samsung Onyx” delivers exceptional visual quality and unmatched technical performance, projector-free. Showcasing the truest blacks and peak brightness, this screen allows for ambient lighting, flexibility in seating arrangements with no need for a projection room, and, most importantly, the ability to see the movies the exact way filmmakers and directors envisioned.

I may be biased, but once you see a movie on the Samsung Onyx, you can’t go back to projection. The difference is real and totally worth jumping out of the comfort of your home (still in your sweatpants) to go see a movie on this screen.

4DX with Screen X: Featuring smells, moving chairs and special effects, consumers will start to see 4DX with Screen X theater options for those who want to take immersive movie-watching to the next level. Pairing 4DX with Screen X allows for seats to move in-sync with the action and flow of the movie, in addition to the picture expanding to the sides of the theater. According to Business Insider, “There are 500 4DX screens in existence and 142 that are Screen X. It's unclear when theaters will have the combined version (one is opening in South Korea), but it's almost inevitable that it's coming.”

I had the chance to try out new 4DX seating at CinemaCon this year. It is unlike any other movie experience. Not for the faint of heart!

More Convenience and Loyalty Apps: In a world where smartphone users have unlimited conveniences at their fingertips, it’s important for the movie industry to adapt to a seamless mobile-user experience. Consumers will see the rise of ticketless entrances, more opportunities for advance ticket purchases and additional options for reserved seating in the near future. Movie theater subscription models are also on the rise with MoviePass competitor Sinemia gaining popularity in the U.S. market. Fandango also recently announced its VIP+ loyalty-rewards program that will offer monetary credits to returning customers.

Technology from Entrance to Exit: The cinema experience extends way beyond the confines of the theater. Outdoor displays showcasing the latest movie ads, digital menu boards at snack bars, mirror displays in the bathrooms, tablets to order food straight from your seat and interactive photo booths for consumers to insert themselves into a picture with their favorite stars are just a few examples of how movie owners are investing in technology beyond the auditorium. Movie-goers will see an uptick in technology throughout movie theater venues similar to how retailers have upped in-store attractions to yield more engagement and excitement.

My hope is these new technologies will enhance the movie-going experience and encourage consumers to get back into the theaters. It’s the best place in the world to grab a large popcorn (with extra butter, depending on your preference) pair it with a fountain drink and your favorite classic movie candy and put your phone on silent. Or even, if you dare, turn it completely off, and allow yourself to truly disconnect from the “real world.”

Niki Hetchkop is a director in Allison+Partners' DC office.

MAY 21, 2018 //     

Where are we headed in U.S. healthcare? Implications from WHCC

By: Brian Feldman


As the 15TH Annual World Health Care Congress (WHCC) in May wrapped up in Washington, the question remains: where are we headed in healthcare? Some of the topics highlighted below serve as a guide to where we may be going, offering insights on how brands and marketers should adapt their communications.

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Telemedicine growth and concerns

While some continue to herald telemedicine as a solution to access and cost concerns, rural communities still need the technology to make more access possible. It’s clear the use of telemedicine will grow and payers will become more comfortable reimbursing for these services. Like everything in American healthcare, telemedicine has the potential to be fragmented and implemented inefficiently. For healthcare organizations and marketers, it’s important to recognize the challenges that still exist with telemedicine and be ready to answer patient cynicism.   

Shift toward value

The market economy in healthcare is having an impact despite the Washington standoff. The sources of payment are voting with their feet and regardless of what system, public or private, some of the same forces effecting travel, consumer products and technology are saying “prove that what you are doing adds value and we will pay.” For organizations and communicators, it has never been more important to show value through outcomes, behavioral change, etc.

Criticism and “sabotage” of ACA

While President Barack Obama’s signature legislation retains its newfound post-repeal-effort popularity and Republicans have largely given up on getting rid of it, changes to the tax code and the desire by some to undermine it, put the system on unsteady ground. Consumers will gravitate toward options that give them value and likely ignore the partisan background noise. Marketers should take note that consumers will align with brands and organizations that have moved past the politics.

We continue to be a divided country on healthcare, but less on ideology and more about what we want versus what we can afford. As we head toward November, it’s obvious Americans are open to anybody, government or private sector, who can offer options to improve healthcare and lower costs. While we continue to explore uncharted territory, marketers should steer their brands with sincere, nonpartisan and outcome-centric messages.

Brian Feldman is a partner at Allison+Partners, who is a lead of the agency’s healthcare practice and general manager of the Atlanta office.

MAY 18, 2018 //     

Now Arby’s Has a Font Too, and It’s Called ‘Saucy AF’

Just be glad it’s not made of meat.

Arby’s has joined one of brand marketing’s hottest trends—custom font creation—and it’s Saucy AF. As in, it’s literally called Saucy AF.

The brand announced the downloadable font this week via Twitter, urging fans, “Don’t just play with your food—write with it.” The typeface is created from all-caps lettering drawn with Arby’s Sauce, a seasoned ketchup of sorts.

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MAY 17, 2018 //     

GDPR: Risks and opportunities for the industry of the biggest shake-up of personal data in a generation

Agencies, in-house teams, charities and public sector organisations, are all faced with the challenge of becoming compliant when the legislation comes into force on 25 May. READ MORE
MAY 16, 2018 //     

Mountain Dew campaign gets inside Kevin Hart’s head

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like inside the head of comedian/actor/businessman/constant-brand-promoter Kevin Hart, soft drink Mountain Dew is giving you a peek.

Today, Mountain Dew unveiled its ‘Give Your Head a Mtn Dew Kickstart’ campaign, featuring hardest-working-man-in-show-biz, Hart. This marks the first time Hart will be seen in a Dew commercial.

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MAY 16, 2018 //     

Nick Offerman Silently Judges Those Who Can’t Repair Their Stuff in Ads for J-B Weld

Credit: J-B Weld

What does Nick Offerman have to say about J-B Weld?

Nothing, actually. The pitchman, whose charmingly gruff voice can be found across a litany of ads lately, barely speaks in the epoxy brand’s first national campaign, created by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.

Luckily, silence is golden. Relying mainly on physical comedy and some stellar facial acting, Offerman amusingly communicates that J-B Weld helps you fix broken stuff real good.

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MAY 15, 2018 //     

Why Minute Media has branched out into esports

Digital sports publisher Minute Media launched its esports brand DblTap a year ago with the aim of covering news and analysis around gaming and the players.

“There was very little storytelling around the sport. There was no time with players before and after they’re onstage or understanding what life on tour is like,” said Duncan McMonagle, svp and gm of esports at Minute Media. “We’re committed to showing esports fans what it’s like on the ground. There’s not enough time in the streaming broadcast to tackle that, and esports is still so nascent.”

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MAY 14, 2018 //     

Meet the new Snapchat... same as the old Snapchat?

Credit: SnapchatSnapchat has once again updated its look, hoping to win back users who hated an ad-friendly redesign from earlier this year. The company began rolling out the tweaks to its failed redesign last week, but that just set off another round of -- perhaps predictable -- criticism. READ MORE
MAY 14, 2018 //     

Girls Scouts Pushes New Campaign Weeks After Boy Scouts

Less than two weeks after the Boy Scouts debuted its first campaign to recruit girls, the Girl Scouts of the USA is making its own enrollment push. This week, the New York-based organization is rolling out "Lifetime of Leadership," a campaign that highlights the well-known women who have been scouts during the brand's 106-year history. READ MORE
MAY 14, 2018 //     

With Faster Speeds and Connections, Brands Are Planning for 5G-Fueled Marketing

Getty ImagesKevin Crull, chief operating officer at Sprint, envisions a world in the coming years where his phone is able to automatically book an Uber ride from an airport based on a calendar reminder that he created about an upcoming flight. The calendar reminder feeds real-time travel stats to his device and then recommends a meal for his Uber driver to pick up on the way based on what items he has previously ordered through Uber Eats. READ MORE
MAY 14, 2018 //     

The Passing Of A Legend

By: Scott Allison

Today in Seattle, there is a celebration of the life of David McLean Marriott who passed away on April 30th.  There are so many reasons to celebrate the life of this incredible man, a true legend in the PR and crisis communications industries, and a beloved member of the Allison+Partners family.

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David had long been an institution in the Seattle area after running his own successful firm, Gogerty Marriott.  He was known as one of the premier crisis communications experts in the country and we were incredibly blessed when David joined Allison+Partners in 2015.  It was a true honor to have him work at our firm and his experience was invaluable to our local Seattle team, in addition to his collaboration with teams across our offices throughout the world.

David worked on many well-known crisis issues during his career. None was more famous than his work on the crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261 which took place on January 31, 2000. It was a very difficult time for the airline and the Seattle community and David’s work was a text book example of best-in-class crisis communications. In fact, the work is included in many case studies taught at public relations programs at universities around the country. When we were talking to British Airways in January about potentially working for them, I caught up with David to ask about the case. The work done then is still incredibly timely and we discussed how social media would have made the situation much different today. To have someone in our firm that I could speak to regularly to gain counsel on a variety of sensitive issues was of tremendous value to me and Allison+Partners.

In addition to being one of the great communication’s professionals of our time, David was a wonderful human being, a great father and husband and a jazz loving gift to the local community as well as someone who donated so much time to so many people.

David Marriott will be missed by many, but never forgotten.

Scott Allison is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Allison+Partners.

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