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Case study: ACME Film – Adapting to change

Decline in cinema attendance brought on a need for a change of strategy.

The popularity of streaming platforms rose together with COVID-19 and had an adverse effect on cinema attendance which meant that previously implemented strategies needed to change.

"Uncharted" is an adventure film based on a video game, for which ACME Film wanted to use a more innovative media strategy that would engage audiences more effectively than before and achieve the desired number of cinema-goers.


The main objectives of the "Uncharted" campaign:

  • Achieve ACME Film's cinema revenue target;

  • Establish a new strategic approach for marketing "Blockbuster" films;

  • Utilize innovative advertising formats to increase user engagement.


The "Uncharted" media campaign was divided into four tactical phases:

  • Pre-announcement

  • Main campaign

  • Engagement period

  • Sustain phase (post-campaign)

Strategically, it was crucial to find the right balance between informative and action-oriented advertisements. As it was a digital media campaign on Google and Meta advertising platforms, additional media formats were incorporated alongside traditional formats to better engage users.

The pre-announcement phase focused on video advertisements, utilizing the film trailer and targeting audiences who had previously responded well to similar ACME film campaigns, such as adventure and action film enthusiasts.


The main campaign aimed for maximum coverage through various advertising formats: Meta news feed and story video and banner ads, YouTube video ads, and DV360 display video and banner ads. Additionally, more detailed targeting was employed, including fans of the actors involved in "Uncharted" and similar films, focusing on audience acquisition for subsequent campaign phases.


The primary goal of the engagement period was to actively engage the retargeting audience from the main campaign through various media channels. Interactive Instagram Story poll solutions were used on the Meta advertising platform to increase user engagement and interest. On the DV360 platform, movie enthusiasts who had previously engaged with ads were targeted, while Google search ads directed people to purchase cinema tickets.


The sustain phase aimed to conduct post-release marketing to remind people that the film was still in theaters. In this final phase of the campaign, both general and retargeting targeting types were combined to achieve the most effective coverage.


The results of the "Uncharted" campaign exceeded all expectations:

  • The campaign's media results were better than planned – it garnered 38% more impressions, 247% more video views, and better engagement than anticipated;

  • The film's box office revenue was three times higher than expected;

  • The film attracted 44,104 cinema-goers;

  • Strong viewer numbers helped keep the film in theaters for 12 weeks.

Similar approaches have been used in other campaigns, demonstrating that combining different phases yields better results.

Client feedback:

Tanel Vettik, ACME Film Estonia, Distribution Marketing Manager:

"Post-COVID, enticing people to cinemas posed a significant challenge. Alongside changing consumer habits, we also faced competition from other strong box office hits.

In the midst of it all, we had to navigate and find methods to give our digital campaign a competitive edge. However, all the campaign's goals were exceeded. In addition to surpassing box office expectations, we achieved all digital campaign KPIs. Our successful retargeting campaign and strong viewer numbers helped keep the film on the big screen for a whopping 12 weeks."



The campaign utilized several innovative advertising formats that ACME Film Estonia had not previously employed: Google search, DV360 Native video banners, Instagram Story polls.


For the first time, we extensively used retargeting audiences: users engaged with ads and users who had previously clicked on ads. While this has been part of campaigns before, we focused more on retaining the attention of these users this time.

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