QUINCY, Mass. -- At a time when video retailers are taking a stronger interest in "family appropriate" products, Stop & Shop has adopted the Kids First! video endorsement program.
The retailer is the first supermarket chain known as a Kids First! community coordinator, according to Compass Entertainment, Taunton, Mass., which distributes Kids First! titles. Community coordinators are retailers that feature Kids First!-approved products, a newsletter of additional titles that can be special ordered, and other Kids First! services. Stop & Shop started rolling out the program several weeks ago, following on the heels of Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis, which launched a Kids First! sticker program in August. Jennifer Lane, video manager for a Stop & Shop store located here, said her store currently carries the newsletter and between 12 and 24 Kids First!-stickered titles, which are mixed with other children's videos. "This is a good program for us because we're a very family-oriented store," she said. "As parents are shopping, the kids will look around in our children's section." Mark Fisher, manager, video sales and operations, Stop & Shop, declined to comment on the program.
Created by the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, a nonprofit organization based in Sante Fe, N.M., Kids First! endorses high-quality entertainment media, video and interactive software for children ages infant to 18. To date, it has approved more than 600 titles.
Along with providing an 800 number for special orders, the Kids First! newsletter lists information about the Kids First! KidsClub, which offers parent and children's membership cards; automatic membership in the Coalition for Quality Children's Media; a 10% discount on Kids First!-endorsed products; and other discounts. "The program has been shipped to Stop & Shop, and is in the process of being rolled out," said Frank Lucca, president of Compass. Lucca said at least three other large supermarket chains are interested in the program, but declined to identify them.
At present, Compass has received a "few orders" from Stop & Shop consumers, but Lucca expects more to come in once the program is completely rolled out. Stop & Shop receives a commission for each video that's ordered through its program.
About 250 Kids First! newsletters have been shipped to each Stop & Shop store -- regardless of whether it has a video section or not, according to Lucca. Flyers are displayed on the video checkout counter at stores with video departments and at the service counter of stores that do not. They will be replenished as needed, Lucca said.
According to Kids First! literature, only titles that are officially submitted are evaluated. Submissions must be accompanied by a completed Kids First! application form and $150 fee per title, per age group. Every Kids First! title has been approved by a jury of adults and children. Videos are evaluated on content (whether they have a humanistic value); production (visual appeal), and message. The jury disqualifies titles that have any of what it calls the four "no-no's": gratuitous violence or sex; condescension toward children; racial, gender, culture or religious bias; or physical or verbal abuse.