Debunking the corporate mantra

Image of Cineplex logo A recent article entitled A Horse of a Different Colour discussed a major shift in personal entertainment indulgences: the author no longer goes to movie theatres favouring, instead, a dining/harness racing experience at a local horse racing facility.

Their shift away from theatres did not emerge from a vacuum. Spawned by exorbitant ticket and concession pricing, it seemed that having to endure an excessive number of commercial advertising prior to a movie that really sealed the deal for the author. To a degree, I agree with the author's sentiments as I've had a similar experience. I have no objection to theatres showing commercials on their screens outside the movie showing times; that's THEIR time. But when the movie has an advertised start time of 19:15, and the ticket stub indicates a start time of 19:15, patrons should NOT have to endure any commercial advertising at 19:15. The clock is now on MY, the patron's, time. In an effort to voice my concerns that the medium has been hijacked by brigands and blackhearts, I was compelled to express thsse concerns to the Cineplex corporate office. Their response, somewhat dismissive, read:

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Dear Bob,
Thank you for contacting Cineplex Entertainment. The commercial ads, which play before the feature film, have become a standard in the film exhibition industry. These ads generate a revenue stream that assists with keeping our ticket prices at a reasonable level. As well, this revenue stream covers the constant increase in operational expenses that a business must endure in today's economic environment. Cineplex Entertainment is in the process of mandating the number of ads that would be placed before a feature film, as well as working with our Advertising partners to ensure the advertising creative is theatre specific and not similar to what one would view during a TV broadcast.

Daniel Brown
Guest Services
Cineplex Entertainment LP

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I have to call bullshit on a corporate mantra that's obviously so out of sync with reality. Rather than responding to Cineplex directly, an action which surely would have caused one of their "yes-men" to hit the delete key faster than Oprah on a baked ham, I a follow up here would be a whole lot more entertaining:

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Dear Mr. Brown,
My first observation about your response was that, for some reason, you believe you have earned the right to address me in the personal. My friends and family call me Bib, whereas those I choose to do business with have generally addressed me as 'Mr. Loblaw'. Since you obviously believe we've reached a point in our relationship where a less formal dialogue can be adopted, please appreciate the less formal tone henceforth is a consequence of the closeness you've imbued.

Danny... please don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. You seem to be under the misguided delusion that because *some* movie houses choose to show commercial advertisements before the feature film that:

  • (a) the practice somehow magically attains the status of an industry standard; and,
  • (b) it can somehow be justified as an acceptable practice.
  • Since the skewed logic and lack of reasoning of the corporate mantra you're pontificating has rendered you unable to distinguish your arse from your elbow, consider this: if one or two large countries place restrictions on certain ethnic or religious minorities, does this lend credence and legitimate a global immigration standard? What I'm saying here Dan-O, in case you're unable to follow the bouncing ball, is that it is NOT corporations who set industry standards; it is the customers who do business with them. The sort of one-directional scenario you're suggesting is the same one asserted by despots and tyrants to legitimate dispicable behaviour.

    The next obvious distasteful lump of vomitous narrative you spewed was the assertion that the revenue generated by the commercials shown prior to feature films helps Cineplex to keep ticket prices at a reasonable level. Have you actually priced a fucking ticket lately? If you actually believe that ticket prices are reasonable, what then, do you suppose, would be an unreasonable ticket price? No wait, I've got a better question: How much would a ticket cost if you didn't show intrusive fucking ads?

    You also cite today's economic environment as a justification for this new-found revenue stream. Precisely what aspect of today's economic environment are you referring to? Would that be an economic environment in which movie ticket prices have outpaced the cost of living? Would that be an economic environment characterized by low interest rates which allow corporations to make inexpensive capital investments? Or is that the economic environment characterized by corporate greed? I'm a bit confused here Lord Dan, the Wise One, so please do elaborate and enlighten me further.

    You indicated that Cineplex was currently in the process of establishing a policy on the number of commercials they would show prior to feature films. Have you completed that assessment yet? I can be an invaluable asset in this regard Dan... the number is ZERO. If you have any doubt, whatsoever, engage an INDEPENDENT marketing firm to canvas movie patrons as they exit your movie theatres. Have that marketing firm ask patrons one simple question: How many ads would you like to see before a movie? Please choose a number: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10? I'll bet half my stuffed armadillo collection and two bottles of Wild Turkey that you'll arrive at the correct answer there D-Dawg.

    I gotta say though Danny Boy, the real coup de gras in your response was your assertion that Cineplex would be working hard with their advertising partners to ensure that the ads shown at movie theatres were different from those on television. Presumably, by this you mean 'theatre-quality ads'. What exactly are theatre-quality ads Dan? Is that like edible vomit? Or a fart that smells nice? Or, perhaps, a fun terminal illness?

    You crack me up Dan. I truly hope your knees don't get sore from praising the corporate mantra.

    Signed, your friend and buddy,

    P.S. If you ever hear a film critic say 'The movie was a real turkey but the theatre-quality commercials that ran before the film made it well worth the fifteen bucks!' please let me know. You just can't buy *that* kind of entertainment, not even at Cineplex.

    Submitted by Norm de Plume, 28 February 2017