(March 16) Dole Fresh Vegetables, Monterey, Calif., is plugging into the power of pop culture to promote its bagged salads.

Six months after an E. coli outbreak that threw the bagged salad category into a tailspin, Dole is forging into new territory, featuring American Idol finalist Elliott Yamin and Yahoo! Music in a new promotion.

Throughout March, consumers who purchase three of any Dole-brand bagged salad receive a coupon providing Web access to the acoustic version of Yamin’s “You Are the One.” The song is exclusive to this promotion, said Marianne Duong, communications manager for Dole.

“Elliott did so well in American Idol, and he has had diabetes, and nutrition is something he’s passionate about,” Duong said.

Yamin appeared on the fifth season of American Idol in 2006.

Doung said this is the first time Dole has incorporated technology and music in its marketing efforts, and the company hopes to boost sales by appealing to the 16-48 age range — the demographic that Yamin’s music attracts, Duong said.

“His music is for all ages and our product is a product for all ages,” she said.

Catalina Marketing Corp. and Croshal Entertainment Group partnered with Dole on the promotion. Nearly one million coupons are scheduled to be distributed by Catalina Marketing, which specializes in behavior-based marketing, during March, Duong said.