STEAKS COOKING FOR RETAIL SUMMER PROMOTION

DENVER -- In an effort to increase steak consumption, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has developed a new marketing campaign set to launch just before Memorial Day -- the start of grilling season -- and run throughout the summer.The promotion, the first of its kind developed for the NCBA, focuses on increasing sales of steaks, particularly during non-holiday times of the summer, according

DENVER -- In an effort to increase steak consumption, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has developed a new marketing campaign set to launch just before Memorial Day -- the start of grilling season -- and run throughout the summer.

The promotion, the first of its kind developed for the NCBA, focuses on increasing sales of steaks, particularly during non-holiday times of the summer, according to officials. The program is being funded with $2 million from the industry's beef checkoff.

The idea for the promotion came about last year as the NCBA planned for summer 2002 holiday periods. The final plan encompasses three integrated marketing communications plans for winter, summer and holidays, each focusing on a different cut of beef appropriate for the time of year. NCBA officials chose steak for the summer phase of the program since it's one of the most popular items for grilling.

The promotion is centered on select cities and will include retailers in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and New York. According to officials, the selections were based on the consumer inclination to grill, as well as population. State beef councils can target additional retailers in their market area; this targeting effort is a new aspect of the promotion.

Stores will receive a number of promotional tools, including floor graphics, cart signs, recipe brochures, grilling information and store-radio advertisements. The promotion's main focus is steak, but the NCBA's goal is to incorporate cross merchandising with grill-related products in the next few years, according to Bernie Thon, the organization's manager of retail promotions.

Outside promotions will utilize radio and television advertising; public-service announcements on safe-food grilling; and satellite media tours with a grilling expert. The advertising will use the voice of Sam Elliot and the ongoing theme: "Beef. It's what's for dinner."

Along with the promotional tools supplied by the NCBA, it's hoped retailers will implement their own programs to increase sales of steak, Thon said. Although price promotions will not be initiated by the NCBA, retailers can use the promotion, along with price reductions, to convince consumers to choose beef.