Dec 22 2013

The Utopia Group of Cinemas

Published by at 01:08 under Industry,Screening Room

SOURCE: http://www.paperjam.lu

Christian Thiry (CTCom) a fait partie du panel d’intervenants pour le 10×6 Brands du paperJam Business Club. L’homme de communication a refait le film d’Utopia/Utopolis. Son avis d’expert, en anglais.

“Back in the early 80’s, it was a group of movie buffs that opened a 1-screen cinema in Limpertsberg. And to run it, they created a non-profit organization.

As such, they certainly never thought they would someday be faced with stuff like:

– Corporate identity

– Brand engagement

– Brand management

– Brand implementation

As a tiny movie theatre amongst dozens in the country, they focused on showing great films that none of the commercial theatres would. Certainly not the “big cinemas”, such as the Ciné Cité or the Marivaux… if anyone remembers them? It was just a bunch of cine-literate friends that wanted to see different movies.

But back then, probably unbeknownst to them, they laid the cornerstone for what was to become. They chose a name: UTOPIA.

That name, although we take it for granted today, was a stroke of genius at the time. It broke all naming conventions in Luxembourg, where most companies were still named after their owners, their location or their activity.

And most importantly, they decided to use the original word and not the French “Utopie” or the Luxembourgish “U-too-Piii”.
And, to me, “Utopia” always had a special ring to it. When they opened Utopia, I was only 7 or 8 years old and didn’t know the meaning of the word, but I would always associate it with something amazing, just because of its phonetic sound.
Of course, later, I got to know the meaning and after reading Sir Thomas More’s book of the same name, I appreciated the reference even more.
Thus, it is a perfect example of great naming:

– It sounds good

– It has a meaning

– And, most importantly, it stands in direct relation to the product they sell, i.e. dreams and a break from reality.
Of course, this is essential for a brand that offers a product or a service destined for B2C mass consumption.

Then, a few years down the road, the Utopia got bigger and bigger and became a “real” company. The success eventually led to the creation of a multiplex on Kirchberg – a first for Luxembourg and the Greater Region.

At that stage, they were surely more aware of their “brand” and, as such, decided to name it “Utopolis”. This too, is a perfect example of expanding your brand. Utopolis could not have been named “Utopia Kirchberg” because the philosophy of both cinemas differs heavily:
Utopia showed intellectually challenging and art-house movies whereas Utopolis, as an expensive multiplex, needed to draw the masses, thus focusing on Hollywood blockbusters.

However, it is clear to everyone: both cinemas belong to the same group. They are both products of the same brand.
Today, “Utopolis” sounds like it must have been the only logical choice of name. But hindsight is always 20/20.
The evolution from Utopia to Utopolis is an example of flawless brand naming development.

And back then, they surely wouldn’t have dared to hope that very soon Utopolis would be a multinational brand with multiplexes in 4 countries.

But with their choice of names, they were well prepared for any transnational development. That’s why I stressed earlier that “Utopia” was so much better than “Utopie”.

Imagine the following: had they named their small cinema in the 1980’s “Klenge Kino Lampertsbierg” – which now sounds ridiculous, but compared to other Luxembourgish cinemas of the time, it is not that far-fetched – what would their multiplex in Kirchberg be called now? Or their cinemas in Belgium?

In this case, the right naming saved them a complicated and costly re-branding process when the time for business development had come.

That’s the most important lesson to be learned here: even if you are just a teeny tiny business acting locally, don’t hinder your potential development by thinking small.

The name “Utopia” certainly isn’t solely responsible for the company’s success. But a “Klenge Kino Lampertsbierg” would probably have always remained just that: a small district movie screen.

That’s quite enough for the name, so let me just illustrate how they have managed to implement their product and philosophy into a successful ad campaign, which… I am not going to show you.

Let’s just use our imagination on this one, because that is what Utopia is all about. In their print ad campaign, they used references to famous movie posters. So think of the movie poster for Titanic… Leo and Kate on the Titanic’s bow, Leo holding Kate, arms stretched out, closing her eyes, feeling the wind, Kate yelling “I’m flying”. Then… A seagull slams into her face!

Reality sucks! That’s the payoff: reality sucks! Utopolis logo on the bottom right. And that’s it, that’s the ad.

Simple, effective, no blabla. Reality sucks! And everyone knows Utopolis is selling dreams, an escape from this sucking reality.
Great ad. Slightly provocative. Some people were indeed offended by the slogan. But the majority appreciated it. Believe me, to get this slogan approved by a client is not easy. Today everyone wants to be safe. It is always better to offend no one, even if it means you’re not reaching anyone either. Sounds like a dumb argument. But that’s reality and it sucks.

But seriously, hats off to Utopolis. That took balls.

This concept was developed into adaptations of other movie posters. I think, they struck gold with that concept and it’s a shame it has not been continued. The possibilities are sheer endless. No limit on how far you can go. I sincerely hope, they re-launch it someday… even if it’s just intended for viral marketing.

Time is running out, so let’s just say, they have finally made the transition to good web and social media marketing. It took some time, but they are now doing it right: different user-friendly websites, different facebook pages and different Twitter Accounts for their various national markets.

That’s essential: you cannot communicate to everyone on one social media platform. Luxembourgers, Belgians, French and Dutch are different crowds and to address them locally is crucial for efficient targeting.

And two words on the group’s future challenges.

Please change the slogan. I’m not a fan of their slogan “movies, moments and more”. In fact, I’m not a fan of anything “and more”. You might as well just say “etcetera”. And, in this case, it is just too close to Disney’s “movies, magic and more”, only less good. Because I’d rather experience “magic” than “a moment”. I’m sure they can find a slogan that does their great name justice and entice people to dream… And lastly, their biggest danger nationally is the fact that they are a monopoly. Monopolies tend to become complacent. Self-satisfaction is a dangerous state for any business.

Luckily for them, they have some competition abroad that should keep them on their heels.

Unluckily for Luxembourg, those battles of potentially great advertising campaigns will be waged abroad.

To sum this up, always remember that “in the beginning is the Word”. Both in movies and in advertising.

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SOURCE: http://www.paperjam.lu

Christian Thiry (CTCom) a fait partie du panel d’intervenants pour le 10×6 Brands du paperJam Business Club. L’homme de communication a refait le film d’Utopia/Utopolis. Son avis d’expert, en anglais.

“Back in the early 80’s, it was a group of movie buffs that opened a 1-screen cinema in Limpertsberg. And to run it, they created a non-profit organization.

As such, they certainly never thought they would someday be faced with stuff like:

– Corporate identity

– Brand engagement

– Brand management

– Brand implementation

As a tiny movie theatre amongst dozens in the country, they focused on showing great films that none of the commercial theatres would. Certainly not the “big cinemas”, such as the Ciné Cité or the Marivaux… if anyone remembers them? It was just a bunch of cine-literate friends that wanted to see different movies.

But back then, probably unbeknownst to them, they laid the cornerstone for what was to become. They chose a name: UTOPIA.

That name, although we take it for granted today, was a stroke of genius at the time. It broke all naming conventions in Luxembourg, where most companies were still named after their owners, their location or their activity.

And most importantly, they decided to use the original word and not the French “Utopie” or the Luxembourgish “U-too-Piii”.
And, to me, “Utopia” always had a special ring to it. When they opened Utopia, I was only 7 or 8 years old and didn’t know the meaning of the word, but I would always associate it with something amazing, just because of its phonetic sound.
Of course, later, I got to know the meaning and after reading Sir Thomas More’s book of the same name, I appreciated the reference even more.
Thus, it is a perfect example of great naming:

– It sounds good

– It has a meaning

– And, most importantly, it stands in direct relation to the product they sell, i.e. dreams and a break from reality.
Of course, this is essential for a brand that offers a product or a service destined for B2C mass consumption.

Then, a few years down the road, the Utopia got bigger and bigger and became a “real” company. The success eventually led to the creation of a multiplex on Kirchberg – a first for Luxembourg and the Greater Region.

At that stage, they were surely more aware of their “brand” and, as such, decided to name it “Utopolis”. This too, is a perfect example of expanding your brand. Utopolis could not have been named “Utopia Kirchberg” because the philosophy of both cinemas differs heavily:
Utopia showed intellectually challenging and art-house movies whereas Utopolis, as an expensive multiplex, needed to draw the masses, thus focusing on Hollywood blockbusters.

However, it is clear to everyone: both cinemas belong to the same group. They are both products of the same brand.
Today, “Utopolis” sounds like it must have been the only logical choice of name. But hindsight is always 20/20.
The evolution from Utopia to Utopolis is an example of flawless brand naming development.

And back then, they surely wouldn’t have dared to hope that very soon Utopolis would be a multinational brand with multiplexes in 4 countries.

But with their choice of names, they were well prepared for any transnational development. That’s why I stressed earlier that “Utopia” was so much better than “Utopie”.

Imagine the following: had they named their small cinema in the 1980’s “Klenge Kino Lampertsbierg” – which now sounds ridiculous, but compared to other Luxembourgish cinemas of the time, it is not that far-fetched – what would their multiplex in Kirchberg be called now? Or their cinemas in Belgium?

In this case, the right naming saved them a complicated and costly re-branding process when the time for business development had come.

That’s the most important lesson to be learned here: even if you are just a teeny tiny business acting locally, don’t hinder your potential development by thinking small.

The name “Utopia” certainly isn’t solely responsible for the company’s success. But a “Klenge Kino Lampertsbierg” would probably have always remained just that: a small district movie screen.

That’s quite enough for the name, so let me just illustrate how they have managed to implement their product and philosophy into a successful ad campaign, which… I am not going to show you.

Let’s just use our imagination on this one, because that is what Utopia is all about. In their print ad campaign, they used references to famous movie posters. So think of the movie poster for Titanic… Leo and Kate on the Titanic’s bow, Leo holding Kate, arms stretched out, closing her eyes, feeling the wind, Kate yelling “I’m flying”. Then… A seagull slams into her face!

Reality sucks! That’s the payoff: reality sucks! Utopolis logo on the bottom right. And that’s it, that’s the ad.

Simple, effective, no blabla. Reality sucks! And everyone knows Utopolis is selling dreams, an escape from this sucking reality.
Great ad. Slightly provocative. Some people were indeed offended by the slogan. But the majority appreciated it. Believe me, to get this slogan approved by a client is not easy. Today everyone wants to be safe. It is always better to offend no one, even if it means you’re not reaching anyone either. Sounds like a dumb argument. But that’s reality and it sucks.

But seriously, hats off to Utopolis. That took balls.

This concept was developed into adaptations of other movie posters. I think, they struck gold with that concept and it’s a shame it has not been continued. The possibilities are sheer endless. No limit on how far you can go. I sincerely hope, they re-launch it someday… even if it’s just intended for viral marketing.

Time is running out, so let’s just say, they have finally made the transition to good web and social media marketing. It took some time, but they are now doing it right: different user-friendly websites, different facebook pages and different Twitter Accounts for their various national markets.

That’s essential: you cannot communicate to everyone on one social media platform. Luxembourgers, Belgians, French and Dutch are different crowds and to address them locally is crucial for efficient targeting.

And two words on the group’s future challenges.

Please change the slogan. I’m not a fan of their slogan “movies, moments and more”. In fact, I’m not a fan of anything “and more”. You might as well just say “etcetera”. And, in this case, it is just too close to Disney’s “movies, magic and more”, only less good. Because I’d rather experience “magic” than “a moment”. I’m sure they can find a slogan that does their great name justice and entice people to dream… And lastly, their biggest danger nationally is the fact that they are a monopoly. Monopolies tend to become complacent. Self-satisfaction is a dangerous state for any business.

Luckily for them, they have some competition abroad that should keep them on their heels.

Unluckily for Luxembourg, those battles of potentially great advertising campaigns will be waged abroad.

To sum this up, always remember that “in the beginning is the Word”. Both in movies and in advertising.

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