There are dozens of theater chains for movie-goers to choose from in the United States, but AMC and Regal Cinemas are the biggest by far. While Regal long held the #1 spot for number of locations, AMC's acquisition of Carmike Cinemas officially gave it the top position and forced Regal to up their game.
Since then, the competition between these brands has been fierce. So I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the two stack up in the inbox by comparing the emails from their respective rewards programs: AMC Stubs and Regal Crown Club.
Let's take a look.
The Opening Weekend Promo
To boost opening weekend attendance for big blockbusters, AMC invites their Stubs members to special fan events, where they get to watch the movie an hour early, get free stuff, and gain access to exclusive content.
In this email for their Black Panther premiere event, AMC does a fantastic job highlighting value and keeping the message focused around a single call to action: get tickets.
A couple of things to note about their template:
• They include my name in the header – a nice touch of personalization.
• They typically use a black background, which helps their emails stand out in the inbox.
• Their CTA buttons are large, making them easy to tap on a smartphone.
Regal sent a similar email about their own Black Panther fan event. They also utilize a black background for their template, but they overlay it with white, perhaps to make the text easier to read.
Their emails tend to be a lot longer than AMC's and follow more of a newsletter format. Still, the main call to action is clear from the real estate Black Panther gets at the top of the mailing, and people who aren't interested in seeing the movie are provided other paths to follow should they keep scrolling.
The Limited-Time Offer
As you can see by comparing this email with the one about Black Panther, AMC keeps the aesthetic of their Stubs Insider emails consistent across the board, regardless of the content. I love the CTA language on the button here - "Don't Miss Out." It plays on the FOMO we all experience when we encounter a great deal and helps encourage engagement right then and there.
Again, they do a great job of outlining benefits here, using bullet points to help emphasize the value people will gain from this particular deal.
One thing Regal is fantastic at is timeliness. Here, for instance, they hopped on the "National Popcorn Day" train with a one-day deal. People love a fake holiday, especially if it means discounted treats. And since it happened to be a Friday, it provided a great reason for people who might have been on the fence about going to a movie that night to follow through.
The Oscars Play
The Academy Awards are like the Super Bowl of the entertainment industry, so it makes sense that movie theaters would also want to get involved in all the excitement. I absolutely love how they adapted their regular template to match the look and feel of the Oscars, plus the double CTA that provides the options to attend their Best Picture Showcase for either one or two days. Plus, the tile gallery of nominees was a nice touch.
Interestingly, Regal chose to showcase imagery for a drink-and-popcorn deal for their Oscars event rather than focusing on the Best Picture Film Festival itself. At first glance, it makes it more difficult to tell what this email is about, and the whole thing feels a little less special than the event from AMC.
The Rewards Experience
This rewards email from Stubs Insider immediately caught my attention with that killer GIF above the fold. Their rewards program hinges mostly on member activity – "Do X, and you'll get Y." They do a great job displaying that visually here with greyed out icons, and it compels me to want to fill in the rest.
While AMC's rewards program is built around completing steps to unlock rewards, Regal is all about surprise and delighting their rewards members. Here, for instance, they sent me a special gift on my birthday. These types of timely, automated emails are a great way to build customer loyalty at scale.
Honestly, I think both brands are doing a pretty stellar job with their rewards programs, and their emails are consistently engaging. However, with slightly elevated design and more focused campaigns, I'm going to have to give this one to AMC.
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