GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Meijer Inc. is getting more deeply involved with the Dove Foundation's video seal of approval program, said John Zimmerman, director of communications. The retailer is sponsoring two of the foundation's projects: a Family Film Festival in seven of its regional markets and an in-house children's television programming channel for a hospital. The festival started Feb. 17 and runs until April 13. The hospital project, at the DeVos Children's Hospital, was unveiled on March 3. Meijer, Dove and the hospital are located here. "Right from the beginning, we've been one of the largest supporters of Dove," said Zimmerman. "So the more we get involved with it, the more we will probably expand into other projects." "It's only natural that Meijer and the Dove Foundation team up to provide quality family movies for the DeVos Children's Hospital," said Fred Meijer, owner and chairman. "With our strong commitment to the community, we are pleased to provide the funding for the Dove Children's Channel, which will bring family entertainment to children." The Dove channel was unveiled in conjunction with a visit to the area by Dean Jones, an actor and Dove advisory board member. Jones visited the hospital, made personal appearances at two Meijer stores in Grand Rapids on March 3 and 4, and stopped at a theater where the Dove Family Film Festival was playing, said Scott Rolfe, Dove's director of corporate services. Jones' movies were featured at a Movie Marathon fund-raiser for the nonprofit Dove Foundation held during the festival. A selection of the actor's movies were offered for sale at the Meijer stores he visited.
The purpose of the Dove Children's Hospital Movie Channel is
to provide an alternative to the typical daytime television fare of soap operas and adult-themed talk shows, said Rolfe. The program involves 28 Dove-approved titles that are rotated every 90 days. Dove is targeting the nation's 215 children's hospitals and 160 Ronald McDonald Houses across the country for the project, said Dove Managing Director Dick Rolfe. Dove is seeking more corporate sponsors like Meijer on a local, regional or national basis, he said. The entire project will cost $1.4 million. In the hospitals, the movies are played over the in-house cable system, while a video cassette library system will be used for the Ronald McDonald Houses. Six additional Dove channels are in the planning stage, said Rolfe. Zimmerman said Meijer will probably sponsor more Dove children's channels. "When children are ill or injured, and in the hospital, they will be able to watch family entertainment," he said. The Dove Seal program seeks to identify video programming that meets its "family-friendly" criteria. The program is now in 430 supermarkets. Dove provides stickers and other point-of-purchase materials to participating retailers. Most retailers merchandise the Dove-approved movies with others in appropriate categories, like comedy or drama. About 26% of the retailers responding to SN's annual supermarket video survey this year said they plan to use or test the Dove program in 1995. Meijer is strongly committed to the program. "Meijer is very customer-oriented and as such cares a great deal about providing our customers with the best quality products and services. Through the Dove program, Meijer is assisting customers in identifying videos that are 'family friendly,' a service that many customers appreciate very much," said a Meijer executive. "We have aggressively promoted our involvement with Dove to publicly reinforce our commitment to serve families in every community where Mei-jer conducts business," said the executive. Meijer is tying in with Kimberly-Clark to promote the Dove Family Film Festival. "When customers buy a Kimberly-Clark product, they get a Meijer coupon at the checkout lane for $1 off the rental of a Dove family video in the Meijer Video Center," said Zimmerman. The coupon is dispensed from a Catalina device, he said. The seven markets Meijer is now sponsoring the festival in are Columbus, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio; West Michigan, Detroit and Traverse City, Mich., and Indianapolis. An eighth festival is being run in Cincinnati without a retailer's participation, said Rolfe. The eight Dove-approved movies run for one week each, with multiple showings each day, he said. The movies are: "The Next Karate Kid," "Andre," "The Swan Princess," "Miracle on 34th Street," "Rookie of the Year," "The Pagemaster," "Little Big League" and "The Little Rascals." All are rated either PG or G.