For the past six years, Cooking Light has constructed a "FitHouse" - designed from the ground up - with the purpose of comprehensively demonstrating the magazine's idea of a healthy lifestyle.
"It's to bring the magazine to life," says Hallett Davis Ruzic, Cooking Light's marketing director. "We're trying to re-emphasize that having or maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not just about what you eat; it's about how you live your life."
IDEA: This year's FitHouse, located in Chicago, has managed to make itself even more newsworthy by being designed as one of the first homes to meet the city's proposed "residential green building standards." The title has always aimed for its projects to be environmentally friendly, but it added a consultant this year to make it as green as possible. "It's really emphasizing that Cooking Light is not just an epicurean magazine," says Ruzic.
TOOLS: Preparation for the house begins more than a year in advance, including months spent on construction and promotion. This year's charity partner is the American Lung Association, and sponsors of the house include Sherwin-Williams, Oster, and Jenn-Air. The FitHouse is cross promoted with a monthly column in the magazine, as well as an editorial feature in August and an advertorial supplement. The launch kicks off with a media day on May 31, after which the house will be open to the public from June 2 until September 2.
MEASUREMENT: Cooking Light will evaluate its success based on ticket sales, media coverage, and the satisfaction of advertisers and the charity partner. Ruznic says it expects to get 20,000 visitors over the course of the three-month promotion.
Company: Cooking Light magazine
Campaign: Launch of the "Cooking Light FitHouse"
PR team: The Rosen Group and Cooking Light
Other marketing: Web site promotions, advertorial, sponsorships
Launch: June 2