July 11, 2009 / 3:34 AM / 8 years ago

'80s-themed fitness chain dials up "867-5309"

NEW YORK (Billboard) - For a good time, or at least a good workout, gym rats can now call 867-5309.

The rapidly expanding health club chain Retrofitness has acquired the rights to the phone number made famous by '80s one-hit wonder Tommy Tutone. It also recently inked original MTV veejay Martha Quinn to be the voice of its fall radio campaign.

The '80s-themed chain has 50-plus locations in Florida, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., and more than 100 in development in Chicago, Tampa, Florida, and other major markets. Each is decorated in bright color schemes (neon yellow, black checkered floor tiles) and includes a "retro cardio" movie theater featuring flicks like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Sixteen Candles."

For Retrofitness founder Eric Casaburi, the number 867-5309 -- which served as the title and refrain of the hit song also known as "Jenny," a track that peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 -- was a must-have for his growing Gen X-targeted fitness centers. "We want to keep the brand as fun as possible," he said. "The devil is in the details, especially in branding. This was a cool detail that people will appreciate when they see it. Plus it's easy to remember."

Retrofitness secured the rights to the number in late June. The phone number had been auctioned off in February on eBay for a bid in excess of $350,000, but the deal fell apart. Casaburi was approached by the owners of the number, and he acquired it for an undisclosed sum.

It was also in late June that Retrofitness inked a deal with former veejay Quinn. "Her response was, 'That is such a rad idea,'" Casaburi said. "She's such a throwback. It's worth the extra money for people to hear her voice and say 'I remember her.'"

Casaburi added, "No one likes to work out. It's sweaty. It hurts a little. At least we're giving them some entertainment value."

Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below