I found the letter below on this post at Church of the Customer. Normally I would not re-post someone else's post, but this is just too good:
An open letter to:
Mr. Peter C. Brown, Chairman, President & CEO, AMC Entertainment Inc.
Ms. Michael Campbell, Co-Chairman & Co-CEO, Regal Entertainment Group
Mr. Lee Roy Mitchell, President & CEO, Cinemark Inc.
Mr. Michael W. Patrick, President, Chairman & CEO, Carmike Cinemas Inc.
Mr. Travis Reid, President & CEO, Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation
We, the marketing-saturated American movie-going public, respectfully ask you to stop showing ads before movies. To be clear, we mean the commercials, not the movie previews.
Why are we asking? We pay you an admittance fee to be entertained. To escape. That's why, for years and years, we spent many dollars at your movie theaters every month. Often, every week. Movie nights with friends meant we regularly brought customers to you.
But now you disrespect us. You prostitute us, your paying customers, with commercial ads before movies. If the companies advertising in your theaters could advertise in churches, they probably would. There's no opt-out to the ads we're paying you to watch. We're a captive audience. Aren't you so clever.
Enduring 10 minutes of gigantic, disruptive and head-shaking ads for cars, deodorant, soda, video games and other stuff we'd rather not buy is not why we pay a sitter, hail a taxi, and spend $15 at the concession stand for movie treats to trudge across your soda-sticky floors while putting up with the guy on the cellphone who's chatting about nothing in particular.
A movie theater used to be a sanctuary for the movie experience, not a giant TV screen. Do you attend movies in your own theaters? Do you realize what they've become? Your sanctuary is now just another bathroom stall of your smelly disregard for customers.
So, we give up on you. We already did for much of 2004. Your prostitution ring of advertising was the last straw. If a theater promises an ad-free movie experience, we'll reconsider.
Now, about those paid product placements in the movies...
Your former customers
P.S. We are asking all of our friends who feel the same to send a letter, asking you to stop pre-movie ads by clicking here.
I'm totally sick of going to movies because of the ads and the previews. I think that my new strategy is simply to purchase my tickets online and show up 10 minutes after the published start time of the movie; hopefully this will allow me to miss all of the commercials and the majority of the previews. Now I know that arriving late means that I will probably not have a selection of prime seats, but I'm willing to suffer through sitting in the first few rows if I don't have to suffer through the same commercials that I can watch at home on TV and enough previews to make me forget what movie I actually bought a ticket to watch.
Do you think that any of the movie advertisers is getting anything close to a 4-to-1 return on investment? Most of the stuff on the screen has no direct tracking call to action (i.e., a specific code that changes week to week that you put into a website) beyond offers that involve bringing in a movie ticket stub. I wonder if you walked into a place that asked you to bring a stub for a discount and told them you had seen the ad in the theatre if they would give you the discount; I bet that they would, which, of course, would totally defeat the purpose of trying to track redemption with the stubs.
I'm really surprised that the theatres don't just turn the screens into giant text messaging boards that display text messages from different people in the theatre. The theatre could set up a number that would charge the person sending a text message $0.99 and probably make a fortune. Don't get me wrong; I don't want to sit and watch that either, I'm just surprised it's not happening.
Anyway, support the cause and click the link at the end of the "PS" above.