EMMAUS, Pa. -- Prevention magazine, backed by several major consumer health care manufacturers, is taking its healthy-living message -- and marketing pitch -- directly to supermarket and drug store shoppers next year as part of a tour that will alert shoppers to their risks for cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and other ailments associated with aging.
Call it Boomerpalooza '99.
Prevention, published by Rodale Press here, aims to reach 150,000 to 200,000 people in more than 20 cities with its Healthy Lifestyle Tour, which will begin next May and run through October. The tour's 48-foot van, carrying trained staff, diagnostic equipment and educational materials from the magazine and corporate sponsors, will visit 130 individual grocery and drug stores, said Steve Gianetti, Prevention's publisher.
According to Gianetti, supermarket operators that so far have agreed to participate include Tops Markets, Williamsville, N.Y.; Randall's Food Markets, Houston; Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.; Harris Teeter, Matthews, N.C.; and Byerly's, Edina, Minn.
Drug chains that have already signed on include Rite Aid, Camp Hill, Pa., and Eckerd Corp., Largo, Fla., Gianetti said.
At each stop, the van will be stationed by the store entrance. Those who venture inside the van will have their blood pressure, body fat, bone density and "skin age" measured, with data fed into something called a Bioanalogic Medical-Risk Analysis Lab, or BMRA. Within three minutes, Prevention says, the BMRA will spit out six pages of diagnosis, including coronary and cancer risk profiles, and proposed diet and exercise regimens.
"There are a lot of other mobile marketing tours out there," Gianetti said. "The difference here is this is an opportunity for people to get actual information on how to take care of their health themselves."
On display in the van will be educational brochures from the tour's sponsors, which so far include Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.; Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York; SmithKline Beecham, Pittsburgh; Pharmacia & Upjohn, Bridgewater, N.J.; and Pharmaton Natural Health Products, Ridgefield, Conn. Consumer participants will also have the opportunity to sign up for subscriptions to Prevention, a spokeswoman said.
Gianetti said the magazine ultimately wants to enroll a total of 10 corporate sponsors, each of which must pay a $50,000 fee. Retailers must buy six incremental cases of product from the sponsors, to be merchandised in devoted Healthy Lifestyle Tour displays right inside the store entrance. Retailers also agree to advertise the tour in their circulars, in-store posters and, in some cases, radio spots.
Prevention itself is not providing any cooperative funds directly to retailers, Gianetti said, but the magazine, which claims a circulation of 3.25 million, is promoting the tour in house ads that include a schedule and sponsor logos.
Prevention has hired Integrated Marketing Services, New York, to handle the day-to-day logistics of the tour, Gianetti said. Part of IMS' duties, he added, will be to follow up at each store location to ensure retailers are adhering to their agreements.