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Jazzercise, a workout phenomenon dating back to the 1970s, re- fuses to take a breather, with new sponsors jumping in.

Over the past 26 years, Jazzercise has outlived countless fitness fads to emerge this year with record participation and a new integrated-marketing program.

Ore-Ida baked potatoes and General Mills' Total cereal are linking with Jazzercise this fall for product promotional tie-ins, and a handful of other package-goods deals are in the works.

The marketers are attracted to the long-term, highly loyal following Jazzercise has among its 450,000 users, most of them women, who take Jazzercise dance fitness classes weekly across the U.S.


Jazzercise, in turn, has decided to bring a more strategic approach to its promotions to broaden brand awareness for its network of 4,700 instructors who teach classes in a uniquely grass-roots system.

"We're a home-grown company, and 80% of our customers come to us by word of mouth," said DeeDee Kovacevich, Jazzercise VP-marketing.

Jazzercise named MGA Partnership Marketing, Paramus, N.J., its agency of record for integrated marketing last May.

"Jazzercise has a system that's truly person-to-person marketing, and that's what marketers are after these days to build loyalty," said Joseph Epner, managing director of MGA.

Jazzercise is negotiating with several undisclosed package-goods marketers for additional tie-ins to begin in 1997, as it embarks on a major East Coast expansion.

Despite some declines in participation in the mid-1990s, the company is now on the rebound, Ms. Kovacevich said.

Ore-Ida's on-package promotion offers four free Jazzercise classes in exchange for three proofs-of-purchase. A national newspaper free-standing insert drops in February; point of purchase also supports.

Total cereal this fall began offering class discounts for proofs-of-purchase; an in-store promotion begins later this month.

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