AARP hits the road

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On June 6, AARP The Magazine will launch its seventh annual Road Show — a touring series of events designed to engage core demographic groups with the AARP brand.

The Road Show will visit eight cities around the country, setting up shop at larger events like The Lowes Foods Taste of Charlotte and the GrapeFest in Grapevine, TX. Locations and events were chosen based on AARP readership demographics, targeting the areas with the highest concentrations of readers or potential readers (active adults over the age of 50).

“What we find in research with the magazine is that AARP members are looking for an active and quality and engaged lifestyle,” said Patricia Lippe Davis, associate publisher of marketing, AARP media sales. “The Road Show is out in the community, and people are out there getting involved and picking up information and being active and attending. These are people that are out and living in their communities.”

Local outreach and PR are key components of advertising for the Road Show, but it did receive a national PR boost this year when its “Faces of 50+” contest was featured on Good Morning America. AARP also posts Road Show information on its Web site and in the magazine

The “Faces of 50+ Real People Model Search,” in which the magazine's editors and readers choose men and women to be featured as models in a special editorial section, is a popular part of the Road Show. Readers can enter the search and vote on other contestants online as well. Last year, more than 13,000 people entered the contest, earning 31,000 reader votes online.

Sweepstakes, product sampling, prize giveaways, free health screenings, massages and games will all be featured at Road Show stops. One measure of Road Show success is the numbers of health screenings, massages and samples given out.

“That helps measure success and engagements,” explained Shari Horowitz, associate director of events and promotions for AARP. “Each year we increase the number of samples from advertisers, and now we're up to asking for 20,000 samples as a conservative suggested number.”

More than thirty advertisers — representing a span of editorial foci from the magazine, from health to finance — have signed up to support the Road Show. Sponsors include Kraft, Cetaphil, Hertz and Perillo Tours.

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