TV SPOTS HIGHLIGHT SAFEWAY HEALTH ROLE

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway here has created a series of TV spots that function as public-service announcements but also identify the chain's pharmacies as health care destinations."Ask Your Safeway Pharmacist," 30-second "educational vignettes" featuring Safeway's Linda Bernstein, started airing late last month on station KRON and Bay TV in San Francisco. There are 26 installments, and they will

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway here has created a series of TV spots that function as public-service announcements but also identify the chain's pharmacies as health care destinations.

"Ask Your Safeway Pharmacist," 30-second "educational vignettes" featuring Safeway's Linda Bernstein, started airing late last month on station KRON and Bay TV in San Francisco. There are 26 installments, and they will run more than 100 times during news shows, morning talk shows and prime-time programs over the next six months.

There will also be an "Ask Your Safeway Pharmacist" half-hour special, which is scheduled to air twice in 1998.

The segments were written and produced by Bernstein, who, in addition to being a pharmacist, is manager of marketing and promotions for Safeway's pharmacy division. As host, she answers one question per segment, covering such topics as poison prevention and treatment, allergies and whether certain pills can be crushed to make them easier to swallow.

"It's an educational message," Bernstein said. "We also want people to know they can come to Safeway to have their health questions answered."

Bernstein said she generated the questions herself. "They are based on past experience and talking with other pharmacists about questions they've received."

Bernstein also appears in Safeway's advertising circular in a regular "Dr. Bernstein Talks About+" feature, in which she addresses topics like the importance of emergency medical identification and what to do if your child needs to take medicine during school hours.

"Dr. Bernstein Talks About+" is sometimes tied in with a coupon for a product related to the topic at hand. For example, the item on emergency medical identification advocated an emergency-response service called MedicAlert and was accompanied by a $10-off coupon for MedicAlert.

"Ask Your Safeway Pharmacist" is sponsored by Schering-Plough Corp., Madison, N.J.

Safeway operates 150 stores in the San Francisco Bay area.