Harris takes on VP job at Bally to bulk up branding effort

CHICAGO: Bally Total Fitness has hired Jon Harris for the new post

of vice president of media development and communications.



Harris plans to expand Bally's PR staff as he seeks to gain more

attention not only for its various health club brands, but also for

branded food, drink, and apparel products.



Harris, who had been director of communications at the now defunct

Ourhouse.com website, has already gotten Bally airplay on the Today show

by teaming with Wilson Sporting Goods to donate $30,000 of Wilson

equipment to a holiday toy drive.



A veteran of the Pepsi marketing machine as well, Harris said he can

market health clubs, a discretionary spending item for most people,

despite the economic slump.



"It's always a good time for people to get in shape," he said. Harris

hopes to expand awareness of the Bally name by using increased product

placements in a wide range of media. "The goal is to get Bally out

there," he said.



The NYSE-listed company has worked with The MWW Group for about 10

years, and Harris plans to continue that relationship. He also expects

to hire a director of PR and another PR staffer.



Bally recently completed its acquisition of Crunch Fitness, a New York

health club operation. Crunch's two PR people will now report to

Harris.



Last month, Bally reported third-quarter income of $18.2 million,

a 14% increase from the prior year, with net revenues of $209.9

million, up 5%. Bally's stock was trading at $12.52 as of press

time.



Bally's brands include Crunch, Bally Sports Clubs, Pinnacle, Sports

Clubs of Canada, Bally Total Fitness, and Gorilla Sports.



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