Jen Davies, Head of Marketing at GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) talks us through the strategy which has seen box office sales steadily increase, web visits rise, and the cinema itself winning both the Glasgow Grows Audiences ‘Audience Development Pioneer award’ for their use of social media AND the Coveted ‘Golden Twit’! All under the watchful eye of their 70 year old mascot, Mr Cosmo.
The gentlemanly Mr. Cosmo welcomes you to his cafe at the GFT
The Glasgow Film Theatre was 70 years old last year – and with its gorgeous, deep-coloured, supremely stylish art-deco mahogany interior you can see why audiences have flocked here for their cinematic fix for seven consistent decades.
the sweeping entrance to Cinema 2
Of course, the building itself isn’t enough to maintain the kind of dedicated audiences that the GFT generates. But complement the interior with a strong programme of arthouse film, a diverse range of special events, and a passionate and friendly staff who know their regular audiences by name (indeed, well enough to complement them on their new hairstyles as I overheard whilst waiting near the box office) and you start to see the full picture of the GFTs longterm success.
But even then – is that enough to generate growth in box office sales of 33% over three years, or to maintain a steady 17% per quarter increase on visits to the website? Jen Davies thinks not. Indeed, according to Jen, positive increases on that kind of scale must be, in part at least, thanks to the GFT’s innovative social media strategy. And with a strong correlation between social media activity and increased hits or sales, the proof is in the pudding. And the best desserts are the occasions when Twitter or Facebook can come to the rescue of a quieter event: for GFT, experience has proved that if you pop a post on Twitter offering a discount or just highlighting the event, tickets sell. In short, social media works.
Without doubt, the event you’re selling has to be worthwhile, but with everything from the latest critically acclaimed movies (I Am Love was just opening on the day I visited – oh, to have had the time to see it!), to late night cult classics, to free family films on Saturday mornings, GFT certainly has a wealth of good content to offer.
Publicity for Late Night Cult Classics at GFT - all illustrations done by a member of the GFT Box Office
They also have an excellent cafe, presided over by the watchful eye of original mascot Mr. Cosmo. Whilst enjoying a delicious soup and half a sandwich (thank you Jen!), we discussed the potential for a social media resurrection of dear Mr. Cosmo… The power of social media indeed! Watch this space