A cooking light house

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Tking a page from successful show-house promotions developed by shelter magazines, Cooking Light is breaking ground on its first such effort, a "Fit" house for healthy living.

Backed by sponsors who will fill the house with products designed for health, fitness and energy efficiency, the house will be unveiled this fall and featured in the magazine next March and in related consumer promotions.

Located near the Birmingham, Ala., headquarters of Cooking Light's parent AOL Time Warner's Southern Progress Corp., the 4,450 square foot house will also draw an estimated 15,000 visitors this fall through local tours and national publicity, said Chris Allen, publisher of Cooking Light.

Last week, Reebok signed on as fitness sponsor of the house, providing exercise equipment for the home gym, which includes a locker room and sauna. Lennox Industries will supply heating and air conditioning in the home, plus humidifiers and air filters designed to reduce allergens and chemicals.

"We're involved in dozens of show houses, mostly for shelter magazines, but this one is a `double' for us because we also play a big role in culinary magazine promotions," said Brian Maynard, director of integrated marketing for Whirpool Corp.'s KitchenAid Home Appliances, which will outfit the house with major appliances and countertop equipment.

Other sponsors include Kohler Faucets, Wood-Mode cabinets, American Olean floor coverings, Callaway Wines and Marquis Spas. Cooking Light is in talks with two automobile manufacturers to bring an alternative-fuel car into the garage for display. Sponsorship prices vary according to the scope of presence, Mr. Allen said.

The effort marks the first time a culinary magazine has created a show house, but Cooking Light draws on Southern Progress' experience in creating several show houses for its other books, including Southern Living. Other unique features of the Fit House include a meditation/yoga room, a massage table in the main bathroom and a humidified wine cellar

The house will be sold to a private buyer when the promotion ends.

"This is an unusual opportunity for Cooking Light to demonstrate what we mean to readers beyond just cooking, to the total healthy lifestyle we espouse," said Mr. Allen.

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