A blog series on Shopper Marketing.

By Cyndi Pyburn 

I went to see a movie recently at Cineplex Theatres and I must say, I felt a little left out.  Without warning, suddenly everyone had their smartphones out and started playing this obviously very engaging game, “Timeplay”.  It is a clever way to capture and entertain an audience, especially as they wait for their movie to begin.   With the “Timeplay” app, the audience plays in ‘real’ time with other movie theatre attendees.  The object of the game is to collect the most number of points.  These points can be exchanged for theatre goodies – free drinks, popcorn, coupons and the like.  Your knowledge and speed are tested amongst family, friends and strangers.  The top participants are posted on a leader board, so the aspect of ‘healthy competition’ is alive and well.  For the ‘stars’ of the game, you get to see your name on the ‘big screen’.

I thought that this is a very clever way to engage an audience and in particular, Gen Y.  Growing up with technology, this is the group most likely to download movies, video-stream, and secure any and every kind of content digitally. Video stores are a thing of the past and theatres face a similar threat.   This gaming approach is engaging and appealing as it is a multi-player social and interactive platform.  You get added entertainment value in addition to the movie.  This is a loyalty program in disguise.  Not just loyalty to Cineplex theatres — loyalty to going OUT to the movies instead of cocooning in your home theatre.

Traditional loyalty programs operate under one of several premises:

  1. Spend money.  Get points.
  2. Come more often.  Visit five times and the sixth time is free.
  3. Increase your basket.  Buy one get one.  Or buy one, get second half price.
  4. Time sensitive.  Buy before xx date and get xx off.

I found “Timeplay” a refreshing approach to loyalty.  I challenge retailers to get creative with their digital audiences and find new interactive ways to garner loyalty.