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Cineplex VIP Cinemas


Cineplex Entertainment
We assisted Cineplex Entertainment in visualizing and then capitalizing on innovative solutions that were instrumental in redefining the category. The process included a thorough competitive analysis in addition to a major benchmarking study.

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Brand Engagement
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Cineplex, Inc. is one of Canada’s largest entertainment companies, operating numerous businesses including movie theatres, food services, gaming, alternative programming (Front Row Centre Events), Cineplex Media, Cineplex Digital Solutions and the online sale of home entertainment content through and via apps embedded in various electronic devices. Cineplex is also a joint venture partner in SCENE – Canada’s largest entertainment loyalty program. Since Cineplex’s inception, Shikatani Lacroix has partnered with their management team in a wide variety of initiatives to ensure the organization and its various brands remain relevant to their consumers. Through its subsidiary, Cineplex Entertainment LP, Cineplex operates 161 theatres with 1,635 screens in all 10 Canadian provinces from coast to coast, serving approximately 71 million guests annually through the following theatre brands: Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity, Galaxy Cinemas, Colossus, Coliseum, Scotiabank Theatres, Cineplex Cinemas, Cineplex VIP Cinemas, Famous Players and Cinema City. Cineplex also owns and operates the UltraAVX, Poptopia, and Outtakes brands. Recently, in a testament to how the organization has redefined the movie going experience, Canadian Business named Mr. Ellis Jacob, CEO of Cineplex, “Innovation CEO of the Year”.

The Challenge

Following the introduction of the Cineplex multiplex platform, the movie theatre industry was no longer introducing significant innovations and the category was under pressure due to extensive growth. The competitive landscape had grown with the arrival of multiple players, including U.S. restaurants and home entertainment. Additionally, the mercurial growth of gaming had emerged as a significant competitor for customers’ discretionary dollars, providing a significant challenge to grow margin and sales for Cineplex. Another obstacle was the rise of online movie rentals coming from Netflix, iTunes and other digital networks that had affected the viewing behavior of customers who were willing to wait to rent versus attending blockbuster movie releases. Finally, the rise of operational costs had put more pressure on margins and was inhibiting the ability to gain additional revenue from theatre guests. Market and financial analysis proved that these challenges reflected dire predictions for the industry, including Cineplex Entertainment.
An innovative solution to online competition from Netflix, iTunes, and other digital networks

Our Process


We simply don’t rest until we get the full story. We began each major Cineplex project with a rigorous brand discovery SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, branding and communication needs to determine what will drive success. During this phase, we conduct a 360-degree review, and explore everything that is known, tried, tested, researched and true. Our analysis is based on the strategic insights of the facilities and communication teams, stakeholder research, and industry benchmarking.

For the Cineplex brand, Phase One involved the following:

  • competitive reviews
  • benchmarking of industry game changing leaders
  • management interviews
  • site and SWOT analysis
  • analysis of the Five Ps (Promotion, Place, People, Product and Price)

SWOT analysis:

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can be your best advantage in establishing a hospitality program that works within the confines of the real world. Our SWOT analysis takes an in-depth look at the current programs within the marketplace and maps out key drivers that will ensure success. Strategic insights: Shikatani Lacroix has managed multiple projects for Cineplex over the last decade, including the naming and launch of their AVX sound system, their new VIP theatre program and the branding and launch of their Galaxy brand, in addition to the redesign of their Famous Players and Cineplex theatres. Furthermore, Shikatani Lacroix was instrumental in the naming and design of their Poptopia QSR brand and the evolution of their Outtake offering. In all of these projects, we provided an initial analysis identifying the following underlining opportunities:
  • increase revenue per theatre visit
  • move from lower margin to higher margin concession offerings
  • improve the overall movie theatre experience
  • capitalize on the boomer demographics who are willing to pay more for a better experience
  • consolidate the various brands under one single master brand strategy
A critical facet of any branding initiative is the ability to clearly define the key visual and structural elements of the program. Our alignment process allows the use of physical and visual metaphors to help define the Cineplex ideal experience and key equity levers that would allow a seamless and coherent execution across the various locations. In the case of Cineplex, which owned the theater experience, the exterior signing program needed to leverage this equity while providing stronger curb appeal and visual impact to better leverage the scale of the building.


We assisted Cineplex Entertainment in visualizing and capitalizing on innovative solutions that were instrumental in redefining the brand for its Cineplex VIP Cinemas

We are inspired by the obvious and the obscure. Once we have discovered all there is to know, we put our creative minds to work in brand ideation and brainstorming sessions, and we push the creative envelope to strike the right balance between innovation and risk, turning our strategic vision into reality. Our collective think-tank culminates with the creation of a range of options to help the Cineplex leadership team visualize potential directions.

The creation phase involved the following:

  • development of different brand experiences and potential positions for their sub-brands
  • design of various identity options
  • development of potential overall décor and signing approach
  • prototype management and implementation across the entire retail network


In support of a cohesive branded experience implementation and consistent identity across Cineplex theatres’ key moments of truth, our design team further refined a given direction as part of a prototype program. The process included a further refinement and execution of the identity in addition to the development of specifications, message and sign schedule through to prototype development and final execution across Canada. Shikatani Lacroix managed the implementation and brand conversion across more than 60 theatres over a five-year period. During the implementation stage, Shikatani Lacroix was also retained to develop packaging for their popcorn and concession program, a new Poptopia and Outtake specialty food programs, a new VIP brand in addition to the naming and design of AVX Digital Surround Sound offering. Cineplex sales growth has been significant with the 2012 results exceeding industry and company goals.