EVENTS & PROMOTIONS;COOKIN' AT CONCERTS KRAFT USES FESTS TO BEEF UP ITS SPONSORSHIP OF NAT'L MUSIC TOUR

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Kraft foods wanted to mix together families, country music and more than 40 of its brands when the No. 1 food marketer got behind this summer's all-female country music tour, billed as the first of its kind.

The 33-city Kraft Country tour includes Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter & Family. But Kraft was still hungry for more-it wanted to bring the food brands right into the arenas.

Kraft picked nine markets on the tour for staging a Kraft Cookin' Fest, a free, daylong food marketing and promotion event open to the public and concertgoers.

BIGGEST EVER FOR KRAFT

The fest is the biggest local integrated marketing event ever conducted by Kraft, said Robert Hopton, director of marketing strategy and development. A recent fest in Columbus, Ohio, drew about 10,000 to its contests, product sampling and cooking demonstrations.

Kids are lining up for the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Pedal Car races, to try to win a pedal car in the "Great American Bologna Ballot" and to audition for the "Oscar Mayer Talent Search II."

Families are visiting the Maxwell House Country Cafe, where they can enter the "Maxwell House Search for Country's First Family," in which one family will win a coffee break at the Nashville, Tenn., home of Carlene Carter and her daughter Tiffany.

An on-pack, in-store, direct mail and free-standing newspaper insert campaign supported the concert sponsorship nationally; the Cookin' Fests get local promotional support.

`SURPRISE THEM WITH FUN'

"To make it click, brand managers had to drop their natural territorial barriers and come together as a team from the corporate, promotion and field levels," said Jay Lenstrom, VP at GMR Marketing, Brookfield, Wis., which coordinated the local events for Kraft.

Mr. Hopton added: "All our brand teams came up with different creative ways to get consumers involved here, trying to surprise them a little with fun and unexpected entertainment that's been overwhelmingly successful."

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