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In the late 1990s, venture capital firm Cinven bought the famous Odeon cinema chain, and needed to achieve growth.


Though cinema visits in general were booming, and Odeon was the largest chain in Britain, its performance was no more than average. Odeon therefore set out to reinvent itself, from what was often a tawdry night out, seemingly stuck in the 1950s, to a modern experience that would make audiences feel good about the cinema they’d chosen.


Wolff Olins created the brand idea ‘fanatical about film’ – a spirit that Odeon would share with its customers. We developed a visual expression that, naturally enough, uses projected light – and used it to inspire a complete rethink of how the cinemas would look and work, outside and in.

We created a set of stunning short films to establish the ‘fanatical about film’ idea, and advised how to get staff to live out the brand. We helped create a hugely successful new website. And – perhaps the most visible part of the transformation – we remodelled Odeon’s flagship cinema in Leicester Square, the largest cinema auditorium in Europe and a classic of art deco architecture.


In year one, profits grew by 15%, and Cinven was able to sell the business for £280 million, double its initial investment. The New brand had brought a familiar but fading fixture in British life dramatically back to life.

In 2004 Odeon was acquired by private equity firm Terra Firma and is now part of Odeon and UCI Cinema Group. Odeon continues to use the ‘fanatical about film’ brand and is the UK’s largest cinema chain, accounting for nearly a third of all cinema tickets sold.