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Regal Movie Theaters Reject Public Health Ad

Multnomah County is moving forward with a $7 million anti-obesity campaign. An ad that is part of the effort was rejected for use by the nation’s second-largest movie theater chain.

As the county fanned out billboards, TV spots and other messages urging people to watch their sugar intake, health officials had an idea: why not put spots in movie theaters, where thousands of kids will munch on sweet goodies while they take in summer blockbusters?

But the county’s Sonia Manhas says an ad buyer who works with Regal Cinemas told the County that Regal rejected the ad, because the message might hurt concession sales. Manhas calls it a demonstration of how difficult it is for people to make healthy choices.

“When we as a public health department are having difficulty getting accurate health information out to the public in an environment you think would be an equal playing field. It turned out it’s not that way,” Manhas said.

Manhas says Multnomah County intends to continue its public education campaign through grassroots channels, possibly working with locally-owned theaters.

A spokesman for Regal Cinemas was not able to respond immediately to a request for comment.

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