The Hiway Theater is a small, nonprofit movie house. A fixture in Jenkintown, PA for 100 years, its existence was threatened by the requirement to convert from 35 mm film to digital projection. The cost to convert was $100,000. Without these dollars, the theater would go dark.
To raise the money, we created an awareness and fundraising campaign. First, we developed a logo and tag line – “Be a Screen Saver”– that describes the campaign’s goal and also works as a call to action. The typography, colors and shape invoke both the theater’s facade and the look of a theater ticket.
We also produced a flyer; one side lists FAQs about the theater’s needs and includes instructions about how to make a donation. The second side encourages audience participation: folks are asked to write in the name of their favorite movie, and if desired, take a photo of themselves holding up the flyer and email it to the theater. The photo then resides both on the theater’s website and on a monitor in the theatre lobby. In this way, the campaign actively engaged community members, reminding them how much they love the movies and building momentum for all to see.
The flyer was distributed at the theater and included in a direct mail fundraising appeal that was sent to 2500 local residents and businesses. Within 24 hours our first dozen donations arrived.
We also made posters for the theater lobby and car magnets that proclaim “I’m a Screen Saver” to help gain visibility for the campaign.
But we could never imagine where our greatest visibility would come from.
As the campaign began, the movie being shown at the theatre was “Silver Linings Playbook” starring Bradley Cooper. Turns out that Bradley Cooper grew up in Jenkintown and loved the Hiway Theatre. CBS was preparing a biographical piece about Cooper and decided to film him at the Hiway! So, here is Bradley Cooper in the lobby of the Hiway Theatre, in front of the poster, holding his flyer proclaiming that his favorite movie is “Network.” Is that awesome or what??? Talk about a spokesperson!!
Cooper’s interview with Serena Altschul aired on CBS’s program “Sunday Morning” on Sunday, December 23, 2012.