The Concordia Department of Journalism grad applies that approach as the vice-president of marketing at one of Canada’s largest entertainment companies — Cineplex Odeon Corporation. He joined Cineplex in 2007 to build a new in-house content and creative agency, taking on his current role in January 2017.
Solomon answers four questions that shed some light on the “big picture” for Cineplex.
How did you get your start at Cineplex?
Darren Solomon: “I was a reporter for about six years on CBC TV News in Montreal with Dennis Trudeau. I would file my story and be sitting in the newsroom watching it on air. I found myself wondering about which stories we would choose to tease and how they were ordered.
A lot of people want to get on the air, though I found I was interested in looking at the whole show. I took a job at CTV News in Toronto and over the next nine years I ended up running shows and creating new experiences — such as the first interactive segment on Canada AM. Eventually I was asked to join eTalk to help lead their shift into a more news-oriented program to compete head-to-head with ET Canada.
Then came along this amazing opportunity to join Cineplex and start a new department from the ground up. Basically I was employee number one. Fast-forward nine years and that team has about 50 people. It’s a full-fledged in-house creative agency that does work on all platforms. We’re really focused on the guest experience and maximizing the customer journey.”
What’s your biggest challenge?
DS: “There’s a lot of competition in the entertainment industry but it’s easier to connect with entertainment than ever before. Cineplex is in a strong position as we anticipated this trend which gave us a leg up over the competition. We created a digital store where you can rent and buy movies — we were one of the first exhibitors in the world to do that.
Now we’re trying to shift more towards creating experiences. For example, we’ve screened episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones and people came dressed up as characters from the show.”