Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hulen Movie Tavern

Ellie Brown    
Rhetoric of Space
“Movies have never tasted so good”
Who doesn’t like food? Even if you aren’t a big movie buff, and you can’t be bothered to keep up with the latest Twilight knock off in the theatres, food is a universal draw. And boy does Movie Tavern have your fix. With the tag line “movies have never tasted so good”, the bait is set.
From a marketing standpoint, Movie Tavern as a brand relies heavily on the draw and appeal of food and drink in conjunction with your movie going experience. They don’t pride themselves on the best sound quality, of the biggest screens; they are all about comfort and hospitality. Never underestimate the draw of alcohol.

As you walk into the Hulen Movie Tavern, the first thing that grabs your attention is not the movie posters, or even a candy counter, but rather the full bar that is equipped to mix any edible drink imaginable (and some that aren’t). Directly next to the bar is an espresso bar with small café style table, tastefully decorated with flowers. It’s so inviting you almost forget that you’d there to see the movie in the first place. But if you can get through the bar and buy a ticket, you still have to get to your theatre. Down the hallway with huge posters of the various entrees and desserts on one side, while matching waiters run up and down with menus and drinks in and out of the dark rooms. But finally, you can sit down and enjoy your film.

            The space and atmosphere of the building is relaxed and draws mostly on the appeal of pathos. Hunger as an emotion is a huge deal at Movie Tavern. As Lunsford writes in Everything’s an Argument “We all make decisions based on our feelings” (Lunsford 30), and hunger/thirst is a huge decision maker in this theatres’ favour.  You can go to a Movie Tavern hungry and eat a meal, you can go after a meal for drinks and a film, it’s a two for one date package, and even if you aren’t hungry or underage, having someone bring you ice cold water in the Texas heat is always a hard deal to beat.

            Architecture wise, the seating and design is largely logos driven. Stadium seating, comfy lazy-boy style seats, individual tables for food, clear lighting: all these things are designed for maximum comfort logically. Stadium seating for example seems so obvious and we take it granted as movie goers, but can you imagine if that movie theatre didn’t think logically and put all the chairs on the same level? It would be illogical for only the front two rows to see. The colors are calming and don’t jump of the walls in a distracting manner creating a space that “suggests tranquility and serenity” (Giannetti 22) as well as all the soft lighting and light fixtures. The building itself is easy to navigate, clearly lit, and almost homey with the smells coming from a centrally located kitchen.

Atmospherically, ethos comes into play in a big way. Movie Tavern relies on the ethos of the correlation between food to pleasure. Most people are happy if they have something sweet, or a drink, and if we are happy to before the movie, we expect the film to be good. Even if the film is below, if you have an enjoyable dinner the whole experience won’t be a total loss. This can create an expectation that even a bad film will be at the very least bearable at a Movie tavern. One good experience will lead to repetition, and food is an east experience to replicate. As Lunsford explains, “arguments are composed with specific audiences in mind, and their success depends on how well their strategies, content, and language meet the expectations of the audience” (Lunsford 96). With the expectation of receiving pleasure from one aspect of the experience, some of the more negative aspects can be nullified and that is really important to the reputation and credibility of a business. If you can convince a consumer that they will have fun no matter what they come to see, you can open up a much bigger market than your competitors.
 As a theatre, the marketing stategy and the building itself is lovely and simple, but overall very persuasive. With drinks, food, and entertainment, what else can one single establishment offer for less than $20? So with that in mind, I have to give the Hulen Movie Tavern an easy 3 out of 3 tickets!


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