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Cineplex urges busy Canadians to make time for entertainment

Short film kicks off "See The Big Picture" brand strategy, replacing "Escape With Us"

Pat Marshall isn’t sure what they’ll put on her gravestone one day, but she really hopes it won’t be, “She worked so hard.”

In that sense, the VP of communications at Cineplex Entertainment has something in common with the title character of “Lily and the Snowman,” an animated short film that marks the beginnings of its “See the Big Picture” campaign, which launched Tuesday.

The film follows the relationship between Lily and a snowman who comes to life. As she becomes an adult and spends less time with the snowman (who is preserved in a refrigerator in the garage), Lily eventually recognizes the value of taking a break from everyday stresses. Zulu Alpha Kilo served as lead creative agency for the project.

“It really takes us back to first principles. As a society, we really do need to balance things more . . . we need to prioritize entertainment in our lives,” said Marshall, adding that the campaign’s message will be aided by its arrival just before the holidays. “We know we’re going to have a large number of people through our theatres over the next few weeks. Christmas or the holiday season is when people do make that time and try to take a step back to reflect.”

Cineplex isn’t only trying to connect with theatregoers, even though exhibiting movies remains a primary source of revenue. Unlike the previous “Escape With Us” campaign, “See The Big Picture” is designed to market the company’s investments in food and beverage services, gaming, advertising, eSports and a series of entertainment destinations dubbed “Rec Room” that will first launch in Edmonton.

“’Escape With Us’ didn’t reflect our broader business,” Marshall said. “It was great as a B2C initiative, but for our B2B side, it didn’t really work.”

Besides running in Cineplex’s pre-show over the next two months, Marshall said ‘Lily and the Snowman’ will appear on the company’s enRoute channel on Air Canada, on signage in theatres and in other print and digital ads. Lily’s character may also recur in other short films over the course of 2016, Marshall added. In the meantime, people who enjoy the spot can also watch a “Making of” featurette on Cineplex’s site.

“We think the ‘Making of’ could be interesting not just for those in the business, but even consumers who want to know how something like this is put together,” she said.

Animation for the film was done by Hornet and Canadian musician Adaline covered Genesis’ “Follow You, Follow Me,” a track Cineplex is selling on iTunes and elsewhere with proceeds going to its national charity partner, Free the Children. Hill & Knowlton will be providing communications support as Cineplex’s AOR.

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