In a letter addressed to top executives at Walgreen Co., National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) President & CEO, John Fithian, requested that the retailer stop using any marketing campaigns or in-store signage that encourage customers to purchase candy in their stores with the purpose of sneaking it in to the movie theatre.
The request was initiated after photographs of in-store signage and reports of the practice in Texas and Oklahoma have surfaced. The letter states that the in-store signage encourages patrons to ignore and violate the policies of many movie theatres and other entertainment venues which, in general, prohibit bringing in their own food and beverage except in the case of dietary and health conditions.
As a result of this letter, Walgreen Co. has taken immediate action. In a written response; Sona Chawla, President, Digital and Chief Marketing Officer of Walgreen Co. replied; “After looking into how this sign originated, we learned that it is a locally created sign and is not part of any corporate or company-wide program. Therefore, we are sending a notice today to all of our field leadership, and another notice to all of our store managers, to check their stores for this sign and to immediately remove it if they find it. We are also instructing them that similarly-worded signs should not be displayed in the future.”
The leaders of both NATO and National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) encourage theatre owners and product suppliers to support this message with their local retailers and to report any instances that they may see.