Orange Wednesday: The End Of An Era


Today is a dark day for British cinema-goers. February 25th 2015 is the last ‘Orange Wednesday’ ever as mobile phone company EE has decided to pull the plug on the scheme.

The telecommunications giant argues that customers’ viewing habits have changed with the advent of Netflix and other streaming services while simultaneously claiming that the popularity of the offer was in significant decline. It isn’t a secret that over recent years, online streaming servers like Netflix and Amazon Prime, amongst the free movie streaming sites found on this page, have dominated the industry, meaning that the need for offers like Orange Wednesday has seen a decline in users. Why? Because people are now able to watch the latest movies from the comfort of their own homes instead. Personally, I think corporate gestalt EE is just royally miffed that people simply wouldn’t stop calling it Orange Wednesday despite their, and Kevin Bacon’s, best efforts.

EE Wednesday? It was never going to happen. Like all the best brand names, ‘Orange Wednesday’ was conjugated into a verb, a noun and an adjective. It became a bit of a national treasure, ingraining itself into the fabric of everyday life and, in the face of soaring ticket prices, providing a welcome opportunity to save a few quid.

Orange Wednesday 2

It also benefited from some of the best advertising of all time, cleverly and playfulling riffing on the very movies its cinema-savvy target audience held dear. These reached their zenith with the Orange Film Funding Board pitch meetings chaired by Mr Dresden (Brennan Brown) and his sidekick (Steve Furst) where a succession of genuine Hollywood A-listers subjected themselves to the indignity of compromising their visions to meet Orange’s product requirements.

If you’d diligently taken advantage of the offer every week since it started over twelve years ago, you’d have saved yourself well over 4,000 (although you should probably split the savings with the other person who was presumably paying for their ticket all that time) and its likely that the decision to axe the perk will not only hit cinema goers in the pocket but cost EE some customers too. An often overlooked benefit of Orange Wednesday’s 2 for 1 approach is that it also took some of the risk [cost] out of seeing a movie, encouraging people to branch out and give films that they wouldn’t have otherwise gone to see a chance. And even if you ended up seeing something you hated, you could always console yourself with a half price trip to Pizza Express afterwards.

It’ll be interesting to see how the big cinema chains react to this: will Odeon, Cineworld or Vue come up with something to fill the void (and crowd their concessions stands) on a Wednesday night? Or will some other corporate player sense an opportunity and resurrect an offer which, despite everything they do, will still be called ‘Orange Wednesday’ by most people?

I’ll be in the cinema tonight with my regular cinema buddy @darrenski, using our very last code to see “Blackhat” and while I’m desperately sorry to see Orange Wednesday go, I’m hopeful it means we’ll have seen the last of the increasingly execrable EE adverts (although I’ll always have a soft spot for the one with Carl).

Of Orange Wednesday, I can only say this: Of all the cinema offers I have encountered in my travels, it was the most… [voice breaks] useful.


1 Comment

  1. Writer Loves Movies February 25, 2015

    I really miss the Orange Wednesday ads – the one with Danny Glover was one of my favourites. I agree though, the EE ones have been terrible and I won’t be sad to see them go. Let’s hope the multiplexes pull out some great deals to fill the void!

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