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A sampling of news items in the promotion marketing field.

Comark Technologies, Elk Grove Village, Ill., this month starts testing a new paperless electronic coupon system called Promo$ign at one Kroger supermarket in Westchester, Ohio. The shelf-based system alerts customers to coupon savings on various products; savings are automatically registered at the checkout point. Comark hopes to expand its test to five stores later this year and eventually roll out nationwide.

Amtrak is offering half off its rail fares, targeting consumers, the travel trade and its own workers in a major integrated promotion themed "100 days of great American rail values." The promotion runs though October, offering 50% off tickets bought between Aug. 19 and Oct. 31, backed by TV, radio and print ads plus in-station promotion materials. DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, created the TV spots; all other elements, plus the promotion itself, were created by promotion agency Einson Freeman, Paramus, N.J.

Council of Sales Promotion Agencies, Stamford, Conn., holds its annual fall conference Oct. 5 to 7 in New York. For more information, call (203) 325-3911.

LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon, to be held Oct. 30, adds several new national sponsors this year including Timex Corp., Nike, Chevrolet and American Airlines. Numerous local marketers are also helping sponsor the event, and 12 package-goods companies are included in an in-store promotion through Dominick's Finer Foods supermarkets. Events marketing company Major Events coordinates.

David Parkes, 36, has been named president at MGR Promotion, a new division of Market Growth Resources, Wilton, Conn. For eight years before joining MGR, Mr. Parkes was group VP at promotion agency Ryan Partnership, Westport. Prior to that, he was a product manager on various coffee brands for General Foods, White Plains, N.Y.

Kate Fitzgerald coordinates Promotion Marketing News. Reach us by fax at (312) 649-5331 or e-mail address K8FITZ@aol.com.

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