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By Published on .

As advertisers step up event marketing activities to reach consumers in alternative ways, events are evolving to suit marketers' needs.

Integrated marketing is playing a bigger role in the conception and development of events. Spon-sorships are being tailored to offer more intimate, uncluttered ways for marketers to showcase products and services through sampling, demonstration, contests, and a variety of educational, interactive and family activities.

Here are several such events from 1996 that offered significant integrated marketing opportunities:


Fifty Plus Expo, New York, drew more than 10,000 people over the age of 50 to its fourth annual event stressing health, wealth and happiness through workshops, product demonstrations, seminars and entertainment.

Major sponsors included Kemper Funds, Johnson & Johnson, UNUM Corp. and The Gap. This year's event in New York, slated for April 13-14 is expected to draw 12,000-15,000. In addition, 1997 marks the first Fifty Plus event to be held outside of New York; it will take place in Chicago on Nov. 2-3. Kemper Corp. will be that event's presenting sponsor.


The first annual Gran Expo Hogarama, held Aug. 25, 1996, sponsored by the day-long entertainment, education and lifestyle event was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and included fashion shows, sampling, couponing and hands-on product demonstrations.

A supporting in-store promotion in Southern California supermarkets Ralph's and Food 4 Less offered product discounts with in-store displays promoting the event.


Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino, Calif., drew more than 200,000 spectators to its seventh annual event last September to see 1,750 classic cars, hot rods and sports car congregating at one of the Mother Road's pit stops.

Sponsored by Budweiser, J.C. Penney and Chevrolet, the event showcased cars, music and food, while emphasizing family togetherness and safety, organizers say. The event was also named 1996 Best Special Event by the California Division of Tourism.

Conceived in 1990 by Dan Stark of the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau, the event continues to build tourism, community spirit and economic development. The rendezvous will next run Sept. 18-21, 1997.


Hot Dog Safari, Boston, drew more than 28,000 to its seventh annual hot dog tasting event on June 2, 1996, featuring 12 varieties of hot dogs.

Major sponsors included New England Jeep & Eagle Dealers, Oscar Mayer Foods, Sara Lee Corp.'s Hillshire Farms, Brown-Forman Corp.'s Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails and Heublein's TGIFriday's Frozen Cocktails and Shakz. Outback Steakhouse sponsored a VIP guests and celebrity zone.

Participants paid $15 each (kids under 12 were free) to consume more than 68,000 hot dogs; 16,000 Deering ice cream samples; 200 cases of Fresh Express salad packs; 15,000 Yoo-Hoo drinks; and 9,900 Tropicana juice drinks.

Organized by American Radio Systems' WEEI-AM, the event was promoted on dozens of the company's regional sister radio stations, and yielded $100,000 to fight cystic fibrosis. This year's safari is slated for May 18.



The fourth annual Children's Day at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, held May 4, 1996, drew more than 25,000 to experience entertainment and activities on the plaza surrounding the twin skyscrapers.

The Gap's Gap Kids unit was the title sponsor; Hasbro's Milton Bradley games division, Kiwi Airlines, and Marriott also played sponsor roles along with local media channels.

The event was conceived in early 1993 as a morale booster following the World Trade Center bombing; since then it's become a regular event that's grown 20% each year.

Schwartz Public Relations Associaties, Manhattan, handles; this year's event is

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