Gina Trimarco’s official title is Theater Director at the IMAX Theater at Navy Pier in Chicago but she’s really a marketing genius. Seeing a movie at an IMAX theater is an experience unto itself. The screen is eight stories high and the wrap-around digital surround sound takes you to places you could only imagine. But Gina understands that the experience is about more than the movie. She understands Shoppertainment and she understands that it’s all about the customer’s experience.
Only certain movies are chosen to be released as both IMAX movies and “regular” movies. The blockbuster V For Vendetta is the most recent. Starring Natalie Portman, V For Vendetta tells the story of a Evey, a young working class woman who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante who is known only as “V.” You can read more about the movie at http://www.IMAX.com
In the movie, Natalie Portman shaves her head, or someone shaves it for her (we haven’t seen the movie yet!). So Gina decided to let her customers in on the fun: volunteers who were will to have their heads shaved (courtesy of Charles Ifergan Salon, a famous Chicago salon) vied for a $150 prize, VIP access to the theater, and V For Vendetta film garb. And if shaving your head wasn’t your thing, attendees also received a V For Vendetta mask that was inspired by the actual mask worn by the film’s hero.
Gina comes up with a cool experience for each movie featured at her IMAX theater. For Roving Mars attendees participated in Mars Madness – a day of space/Mars activities including karaoke with space songs, actors dressed as Martians wandering Navy Pier, coloring stations, a "Stars of Mars" trivia contest, plus the chance to win tickets to the movie.
The original Batmobile was on hand for the premiere of Batman Returns. Wizard Wonderfest was the theme for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Attendees were treated to a day of activities related to magic and illusion. And for Magnificent Desolation, Gina held Space Day that included Lunaraoke (Lun-a-roake – don’t you just love that?!) a moon food eating contest, moon walking contest (ala Michael Jackson), and a NASA space exhibit.
Gina brainstorms with her team to come up with new, unique, customer-attracting and press worthy in-theater events and promotions. Similar opportunities abound for you, too. Keep your eyes open: is there a movie or television show or album or toy that you could capitalize on in your own store? If you’re not up on pop culture ask someone on your team who is, and get busy attracting customers and making some news of your own!