Cinema Marketing Unleashed: Cinema Operators’ Success Stories

What do we talk about when we talk about successful cinema marketing? And how does that look for independent, local cinemas?

Our hosts, Martin and Jan, explore just that with two experienced guests: Clarissa Bergh, Managing Director of Lillehammer Kino in Norway and Johan Fogde Dias, Cultural Producer at Zita Folkets Bio & Festival Producer at Panoramica Film Festival in Sweden.

Episode 3 of DX Talks brings you two cinema operators uncovering their cinema marketing tips and tricks, what worked for them, and what they learned along the way.

Tune in to find out more about:

  • The local cinema landscape in Norway and Sweden
  • How Clarissa and Johan foster community through social media engagement
  • Our guests’ social media strategy and how they differentiate between Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
  • Event marketing and personalisation for Lillehammer Kino’s and Zita Folkets Bio’s audiences
  • The cinema operators’ practical tip you can start using today, at your cinema

About our guests

Clarissa Bergh has served as the Managing Director of Lillehammer Kino for the past five years, following a successful career as a manager in the fitness industry. She completed her education at BI – The Norwegian Business School through the Executive Degree Programme. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the cinema industry in Norway, she was honoured with the Norwegian "Hugo" award in 2022.

Furthermore, she received the Innovation Award at the Norwegian Cinema Conference in 2021. Clarissa Bergh has also been a featured presenter at the same conference in both 2019 and 2022. In 2021, she participated as a panellist at CineEurope.

Johan Fogde Dias graduated in 2014 from Stockholm University with a Bachelor of Arts in cinema studies. During the course of his studies, he has worked with several film festivals in Stockholm and pursued an internship with the Swedish Film Institute. In 2015, he co-founded the Latin American Film Festival – Panoramica, in Stockholm.

Since 2016, he’s been working as a programmer and events producer for the Art House cinema Zita in Stockholm. He has also been working as a distribution coordinator with Folkets Bio and their EU-project Scope100 during two editions.

In this episode, we cover:

00:00:00 Intro

00:04:33 Meet Clarissa Bergh and Lillehammer Kino

  • What it means to be a cinema manager for over 5 years
  • Lillehammer Kino - the only cinema in town
  • Plans for a new auditorium and more

00:07:11 Meet Johan Fogde Dias and Zita Folkets Bio

  • Operating the oldest art house cinema in Stockholm
  • The team behind Zita and Johan’s role as a cultural producer

00:12:28 Clarissa’s insights from 5 years in the industry

  • It’s more about collaboration than competition
  • Working together for the bigger purpose of bringing people together at the cinema

00:15:10 Changes in cinema marketing and audience engagement in recent years

  • It’s always a challenge to reach younger audiences
  • You need to go from baby steps to big steps in marketing
  • One big challenge for cinema operators: there are many more new channels that you need to work with - how do you prioritize them all? Johan’s answer is curation and niche.
  • The wine & dine experience brings audiences in - but you need to balance film curation with events and special screenings
  • Clarissa highlights the need to be consistent with your marketing efforts: communicate constantly, and create new content.
  • In the end, Clarissa remarks, we need to constantly reinvent ourselves. Hint: why not create a Burgers and Beers night for launching a film like Exp4ndbles?

00:21:30 Specific use of marketing channels to keep your cinema top of mind

  • Capture content from film premieres to further promote screenings and cultivate that desire to be at the cinema — a sure way to grab digital attention
  • Use newsletters and segment your audience based on film curation and interests

00:27:15 How to use social media channels differently, based on content and audience

  • Clarissa’s young task force for fun, behind-the-scenes TikTok content at Lillehammer Kino
  • Using Facebook as the primary tool for promoting films and selling tickets
  • Making Instagram personal in different ways: Clarissa’s take on posting only staff- and guest-related content on Instagram and Johan’s approach to curation and film consciousness by making Instagram their main educational channel
  • Zita Folkets Bio’s special screenings based on days: from Monday Classics to the English-subtitles community

00:40:20 How to decide where to invest marketing efforts and favourite success stories

  • Clarissa’s case study on paid media and amplification, especially for independent films
  • Johan’s success story of leveraging the newsletter to foster community and get the right films in front of the right audiences
  • Clarissa’s creative tactics for leveraging the Barbie phenomenon in a local way

00:56:37 The 5 practical tips you can start using today for your cinema marketing

  • Get your social media scheduling in order and be consistent.
  • Find time to create and publish a regular newsletter. (At least 2 hours on a Monday - says Johan)
  • Start using paid media for amplification (hint: Facebook is best for selling tickets)
  • Look to other cinemas in the space and draw inspiration from them
  • Download the DX e-book on fresh cinema marketing


Discover the resources mentioned in our talk and more:

‍‍See you in December for our next episode!

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