Staying front of mind in a competitive market is
always a challenge, but the Montreal Science Centre has quite the challenge. Within
a 15-mile radius of the Montreal Science Centre IMAX Telus Theatre, there are
25 megaplex cinemas, with an average of seven screens per megaplex, all offering
3D technology and more than 50 new Hollywood movies per year—with multi-million
dollar media buys. In the same 15-mile radius, there are 12 IMAX screens, which
all show educational giant screen films and Hollywood films and use IMAX to promote
their experience. Needless to say, it’s a challenge for the Montreal Science
Centre to differentiate their theater. After market research and surveys, the
science center decided to upgrade the existing IMAX system with the new IMAX
with Laser experience.

In deciding how to re-launch their theatre after an
IMAX with Laser conversion, the creative team realized that a new film would be
the perfect way to generate awareness. Promoting them together, especially given
the limited marketing budget, would improve campaign efficiency and generate
strong interest in both the theatre and the new film. After closing for six
weeks to complete the upgrade, Montreal Science Centre reopened the IMAX Telus
Theatre with the new IMAX with Laser in February of 2017, with the MacGillivray
Freeman film America Wild: National Parks

Social media, including Facebook Live
behind-the-scenes coverage, was extremely beneficial to keeping the public
informed of behind-the-scenes activities and building anticipation during the
six-week conversion process. Leveraging their own media channels, such as
newsletters and indoor signage, was also key, as was a retargeting web campaign
to stay top of mind for website visitors. The buzz this generated was
significant and demand upon reopening was high.

A broad media mix included television spots and more
than 200 bus shelter ads, as well as promotions in other high-attendance
cinemas surrounding Montreal. Invitations to schools; brochures distributed
throughout Montreal and Quebec; billboards; high-visibility building, washroom,
and hallway signage; and even e-mail signatures promoted the new film and immersive
cinematic theater experience.

The science center hosted a grand launch event on
February 22, 2017, with a special screening for bloggers, journalists,
Facebooks fans, and newsletter contest winners. IMAX Corporation Executive Vice
President and Chief Quality Officer David Keighley participated to lend
authority to the relaunch and to signify how important an event this was. In a
city of more than 3.5 million people and a province of more than 8 million,
this theatre would be the first to use IMAX with Laser.

The results of the campaign were significant. In
a market which was previously declining at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per annum,
10-week box office sales after the dual launch rose to more than 70,000, up 43
percent from the same time period the year before. During the first 3 months of
operation, box office revenues were up 11 percent from the same time in the
previous year.