KROGER WARMS UP FOR JUNE SEAFOOD PROMOTION

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here has teamed up with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Fetzer Wine and a local radio station to herald a June 2 Oldies concert -- an annual event at the county fairgrounds here.The concert, sponsored by WGRR radio, is free, but attendees must have a ticket. That's where Kroger gets into the act. Five of its stores acted as ticket stops on April 27 and another five

CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here has teamed up with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Fetzer Wine and a local radio station to herald a June 2 Oldies concert -- an annual event at the county fairgrounds here.

The concert, sponsored by WGRR radio, is free, but attendees must have a ticket. That's where Kroger gets into the act. Five of its stores acted as ticket stops on April 27 and another five will do so on June 1. People must come to the seafood department in the stores to pick up a free ticket and there they will also be given handouts describing Alaska seafood and Fetzer wine selections.

The concert, a day-long event that attracts more than 50,000 people, features well-known groups that play '50s and '60s music. Promotional announcements describing the upcoming concert are sponsored on local WGRR radio by Kroger, ASMI and Fetzer.

The current endeavor with ASMI and radio WGRR is the second this year for Kroger. The first featured a series of cooking demos, reportedly very successful, during Lent.

The demos starred Alaska cod, Alaska halibut and local radio personality J.C. McCoy.

The idea was to show Kroger customers just how quickly, and simply, fish can be prepared. That's why McCoy, WGRR's traffic reporter, who describes himself as "definitely not a cook," was chosen to do the cooking.

The demos, sponsored by Kroger, ASMI, and McCormick Golden Dips & Marinades, were billed as "Smart But Simple." The participants emphasized that the fish has lots of health benefits, including the fact that they contain Omega-3 fatty acids, but the demonstrators also stressed that fish can be cooked easily.

"That's why we wanted J.C. McCoy, not a cook or a chef, to do the cooking," said Melissa DiSalle, Midwest and Northeast marketing representative for Juneau, Alaska-based ASMI.

A George Foreman grill or an electric frying pan was used to show that no special cooking equipment is necessary to create a tasty fish entree. McCoy marinated fish fillets in McCormick Golden products and then sauteed them. Customers were offered samples.

"But we were demoing a cooking method. It wasn't just a tasting. We showed them anyone can do it and have a great entree in eight to 10 minutes. Naturally, we pointed out that the fillets were low-calorie, mild-tasting fish from the cool waters of Alaska," DiSalle said.

The demos were held in six Kroger units in the Cincinnati-Dayton area.

The project involved spot announcements all day on WGRR, "The Oldies Station," during the week leading up to the demos. Then, at each in-store appearance, McCoy took live call-ins from WGRR listeners.

"The radio station reaches a good range of ages, adults 25 to 64," said DiSalle.

ASMI has partnered with Kroger and manufacturers to promote Alaska seafood at local festivals, but the demos were the first time such a trio got together inside a Kroger store for an event.