Get Your Brand Message Through by Marketing to a Captive Audience

March 27, 2021

By admin

There are many different ways to do marketing, but one particular approach stands out – marketing to a captive audience. This article will explore the unique benefits this approach brings and go over examples of successful marketing campaigns that have utilized this audience.

What is a Captive Audience?

A captive audience refers to people who have no option but to watch or read your brand’s message. 

To better understand this scenario, let’s take the example of people at the movie theatre. Once seated, they have no way to avoid the ads that play before or during the movie. With no escape option available, they are forced to consume the message delivered through those advertisements. That is a captive audience.

But how can a captive audience help your business? Let’s have a look.

How Can a Captive Audience Boost Your Business?

A captive audience makes it relatively easy for marketers to reach out to their target market by determining the type of audience present at a specific place. 

The premium chocolate brand Godiva knew that people like to snack while watching movies. Therefore, it campaigned with Everyman Cinema and boosted its sales to $4.4 billion in 2019, simply by handing out complimentary chocolate bars to cinemagoers and running its ads during movies.

Boosting your business is one thing, but did you know that a captive audience is also beneficial for your brand image? Here’s how:

Benefits of a Captive Audience

1. Providing a Holistic Experience

Marketers can provide a holistic customer experience using captive situations to make them aware of their brand’s presence. 

School/college hallways are a good example of this. Students consciously or subconsciously glance at the flyers promoting a certain product or service while moving through hallways, sitting in the cafeteria during recess, and in the school library. The name of the brand makes its way into their minds even without them being aware of it. 

2. Customized Ads 

Brands can show customized ads to people in captive situations because they know who the target audience is.

Let’s take the example of Gas Station TV. People pumping gas have nothing to do, so by putting up screens on top of pumps, the company has them watching local and neighborhood-customized commercials for almost 5 minutes. With this approach, Gas Station TV reaches more than 50 million people every month on 2600 gas stations.

3. Cross Marketing

Companies can use a captive audience to their advantage by giving them a complete overview of their products and services through cross-marketing.

For example, you must have seen brochures and pamphlets stacked in the waiting room at a doctor’s clinic. Patients waiting for their turn usually start reading them out of boredom or to pass the time. By going through those brochures, they learn about the other products and services offered at the clinic and avail them in the future.

4. Adding an Element of Fun

By adding an element of fun to the otherwise infamous concept of captive marketing being forced, brands can help out the captive audience in a positive manner. 

Here we’d like to give the example of Coca-Cola’s Rush Hour Cinema. By putting up screens showing 1-minute movies and distributing coca-cola and popcorn to people stuck in traffic jams, the brand brought them happiness and made the situation memorable. Therefore, by investing $20k in this campaign, coca-cola managed to reach about 200k people directly, 2.5 million people on social media, 10 million people via TV,  and almost 3 million through print media.

So you see, the concept of a captive audience is not all that bad. 

It is usually seen as negative because of its intrusive nature. Still, by adding subtlety to captive marketing, brands can use this opportunity to provide a good experience to the target audience and get positive returns for their product.

If you’re looking for more compelling ways for marketing, check out our blog about The Creative Marketing Mix.


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