Movie Ad Buyers Receive Thanks at ShoWest

Hitting a reception in Las Vegas that offers champagne, delectable pastries and massage therapists might seem like a bit of frivolity rather than a promotional tool. But for Dan Bockrath, the general manager and co-publisher of Cincinnati CityBeat, the overnight trip was definitely worth the expense and effort.

The three-hour reception, hosted by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies on March 24, took place during the ShoWest annual convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners. It drew 80 people, many of whom come back every year for the popular chair mini-massages.

Several of the party’s guests work for entities that advertise movies in CityBeat, giving Bockrath a chance to finally meet them, make a personal connection and express appreciation for their business.

“Movie ads are a significant portion of our ad base—important enough for us to be more proactive with the relationship than passive,” says Bockrath, who attended ShoWest for the first time this year.

He plans to follow up by making a trip to Los Angeles or New York to meet with studio officials who make decisions about where to place ads. Building those relationships could take CityBeat beyond an order-taking approach to running film ads, he says. “Most studios are pretty friendly to alternatives. They know our readers are movie buffs.”

About 25 AAN members came to the reception to meet members of the motion picture community, says Debra Silvestrin, AAN’s director of meetings and special projects. Among the industry people attending were representatives of Buena Vista Marketing, Landmark Theatres, McDonald Advertising, MGM and New Line Cinema.

Bockrath says he’s glad Silvestrin encouraged him to attend, and he recommends that more AAN members go to ShoWest next year.

AAN has hosted a reception at the film industry trade show since 1995, always in the afternoon. Based on comments of several AAN members, Silvestrin is considering moving the reception to a morning slot next year. Feedback regarding the proposed time change is welcome.