Despite the dearth so far of post-event fanfare and statistics that follow campaigns such as IHRSA's GetActive America!, the club association claims success with its second-annual campaign to encourage Americans to get active -- an effort that was complete more than a week ago.
More than 1,700 health clubs participated this year -- up a modest 100 clubs from last year -- the association reported prior to the event. Each club was armed with promotional tools provided by IHRSA and opened its doors to non-members May 16-22 to help encourage them to get active â€¦ oh, and to sign up for a membership too. Â
Like last year (See SNEWSÂ® story, April 16, 2004, "Clubs jumping aboard IHRSA's GetActive campaign"), the two-part campaign began with a "Bring a Friend For Free" campaign and ended with a three-day open house that allowed all community members to workout in a participating club. Clubs that said they were participating were given IHRSA-supplied ideas about programming, public relations, marketing strategies and corporate outreach.
Samples, supplies or funding were provided by sponsors, including Cybex, FreeMotion, Life Fitness, Nautilus, Precor, Star Trac and True Fitness, as well as GNC and Hershey. Sponsors from last year that weren't on this year's list included Matrix, Technogym, Iron Grip and Precor. Repeat sponsors included Cybex, FreeMotion, Life Fitness, Nautilus, Star Trac and True Fitness. Information was available at www.getactiveamerica.net.
IHRSA said that the week provided potential members with more than just a quick workout and the clubs more than just a new group to try to sell memberships to.
"We are extremely pleased with the amazing level of creativity and innovation that participating clubs exercise during this event,"Â Amelia Gilmour Shannon, IHRSA's health programs manager, told SNEWSÂ®. "From cooking and nutritional seminars conducted by local chefs to coordinated mayor's fitness challenges, the clubs truly go all out in making the most of the opportunity to engage the people in their communities that GetActive America! provides."
SNEWSÂ® View: First, we're surprised that little information has been made available yet. Seems IHRSA would want to tout the numbers and successes, and we were surprised that none of the many clubs we tried to reach didn't seem to want to talk to us about the program. Was there nothing to say? Second, we really hope this year the sponsors got more for their money. Last year an informal poll found most clubs offered no fliers, signage or any other recognition of sponsors (see SNEWSÂ® story, June 1, 2004, "GetActive America health club program seems to fall short"), and many didn't even acknowledge the event was going on. Third, we also hope the public wasn't given the short end of the stick, making this only another way to sell memberships. We know IHRSA's mission is to support its members, but fitness is a broader goal and clubs may only be a part of that. It may be too early to tell whether this year's event improved upon last year's in any number of ways. IHRSA said it will not have consumer participation numbers until next month.