Cinepop / Hormiga
Social Enterprise: Cinepop / Hormiga
Social Entrepreneur(s): Ariel Zylbersztejn
Sector(s): Urban Development , Civic Participation, Technology
Use the hook of free entertainment to attract and emotionally connect with large audiences, expose them to educational messages, and provide a platform to connect them business offerings and government programs.
The Innovation Explained
Recognizing that the $5USD ticket price put movie theatres out of reach of a majority of Mexican citizens, Cinepop founder Ariel Zylbersztejn created a free outdoor theatre – a giant inflatable screen that could be set up in under two hours in any public plaza or town square. The film screenings provided a much-needed community service in low-income neighbourhoods – all generations of the family came together for an evening of fun entertainment – and proved immensely popular. As many as 3000 people attended each screening.
Quite soon, the Cinepop team realized it had created a powerful asset: the power to empower people by connecting emotionally. Low income customers are difficult and expensive to reach, especially in rural and peri-urban areas. But when thousands of people gather in the town square to watch a movie, the ambiance of light-hearted, family-friendly fun makes them particularly receptive to educational messages packaged in an entertaining way.
Cinepop started producing original content and educational programs, evolving into a deeper platform named HORMIGA. As HORMIGA embarks on an ambitious expansion strategy through a franchise system – it aims to be the most effective platform to connect to the Bottom of the Pyramid market – it has developed a compelling and measurable value proposition for its corporate and government partners, which Ariel Zylberszteijn believes is critical to sustaining the business model.
Local governments provide the physical space, security, and energy hook-ups. In return, they get an extremely efficient communication platform to reach large audiences with targeted messages. HORMIGA incorporates educational programming both before and after the movie screenings on topics such as health, family budgeting, social values, the environment, etc. And at most screenings, HORMIGA rents out space to its corporate sponsors in inflatable stalls to sell products and services designed for the bottom of the pyramid (such as microcredit, low-cost medical consultations, discounted mobile phones, etc.).
Today, each showing attracts 500 to 3000 people. In measuring its impact, Cinepop has found that up to 30% of the people at their movie showing change their habits and behaviours as a result of being exposed to new concepts, services, and products.
Why This Matters
Low-income populations living in municipalities away from the major cities often suffer from an economic, educational, and social divide in Mexico and in other countries. In Mexico alone this comprises 60 million people across 2454 municipalities with a combined purchasing power over $35 billion. Yet these people are largely neglected by traditional markets and lack access to information, technology, products, and services that could otherwise significantly improve their lifestyles. Often, as a result, they develop dependence on social welfare programs.
HORMIGA has effectively aggregated demand among this population and created the market linkage between them and the traditional market by creating a cost-effective and fun platform for companies, government, and local communities to interact.
Create an emotional connection with your beneficiaries. “To educate people and help them improve their quality of life, you need to connect emotionally with them,” said Ariel Zylbersztejn. “People love to participate in our platform because they have fun, and then they discover they also learn new things. We actually measure this, and know that 3 out of 10 people who participate in our events change their habits or behaviors.”
Provide a tailored value proposition for each stakeholder. “This is something we have worked on a lot,” said Ariel Zylberszteijn. “We have clear incentives for each partner we work with, and we can actually demonstrate measurable benefits for each one of them.”