Moving Beyond a One-Time Event to Set a Permanent Presence

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Shelter magazines have long built model houses and music magazines have constructed Web sites that play songs, but epicurean titles have largely limited their off-page promotions to one-shot events like dinners, parties and occasional celebrity cooking classes.

Now Cooking Light, from the Southern Progress division of Time Inc., is going one better by opening Cooking Light @ Foodlife, an 18-foot-long kiosk in Chicago’s Water Tower Place that will sell food like balsamic-braised short ribs, barbecue roasted salmon and lasagna.

Beyond the book extension
It’s a beyond-the-book brand extension of the sort publishers are increasingly seeking as the new media world bombards readers -- and advertisers -- with all kinds of new options. In addition to the food, the kiosk will offer Cooking Light issues and branded cookbooks. Three big plasma screens will help host tasting events and cooking demonstrations.

Magazine executives also plan to use the kiosk to host focus groups, do consumer research and perhaps even sell food that incorporates advertisers’ products as ingredients.

“There have been so many articles written asking whether print is dead,” said David Seabolt, Midwest ad manager and co-director of the food development group, who helped conceive the idea. “What’s really exciting for us on the media side is that this is, in a lot of ways, the answer to what buyers want.”

Foodlife, a food court in Water Tower Place operated by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, receives 4,000 to 8,000 customers a day, Mr. Seabolt said. Cooking Light had an average paid circulation of 1.7 million during the first half of 2005, according to its most recent filing with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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