Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nike + Apple = Online and Offroad Success

Recently, not unlike a lot of you out there, I let myself relax over the Holidays, had a few more shortbread cookies than i should have and neglected any sort of work out routine I had prior to the break. But luckily for me, on the day after my highest caloric intake on record, I entered the Nike Store.

Inside is where I finally decided to purchase the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. I had seen it before, though I never really had the motivation I had that day. And I am really glad I did.

Nike and Apple have really succeeded in supplying the aspiring athlete with the inspiration and motivation to want to get up from the computer. And not only that, but from a marketing standpoint, managed to tie together an offline product, with an online tracking system that lets you keep track of your own runs, set your own goals, and right now even your own New Year's resolutions, as well as challenge a global community to keep everybody motivated. This kit uses a device that you put in your shoe to track the time, distance, pace and even calories burned. And the brand exposure on a daily basis for both of these companies is huge, with their audience more engaged than ever.

This product is ultimately useless without its online counterpart, and this is what is making the kit such a huge hit. The community aspect in everything online is so important, Apple knew that already and forged a brilliant (though not on the surface) partnership with Nike, who they knew would embrace it. iPod Nano's were, and still are, flying out the door and this partnership is just one more way that Apple is extending its reach. It's no secret that one of the best motivators for a runner is music, so really it's a snug fit (sorry, couldn't help myself).

The overall usability of the product for even a novice runner like myself is seamless, and the spoken feedback is very useful as well, motivating you in the final leg of a long run, or just filling you in on how far you have already gone.

This kit is not only tied to the NikePlus website, but Apple is also taking advantage of the engagement level and even addiction, if we can call it that, of the running community by offering full treadmill and outdoor running workouts that you can download right to your iPod. Some of the workouts feature Nike Coaches like Alberto Salazar (multiple-marathon champion) talking you through an entire workout on improving your endurance, and others are music created solely with the runner in mind by the likes of Crystal Method and LCD Soundsystem. You've got an entire community and a world class personal trainer right in the palm of your hand... or attached to some other pricy but fashionable piece of clothing.

There are, of course, more advanced and detailed running systems out in the market today, that track everything from Oxygen level to heart rate, but speaking strictly from a mass accessibility standpoint, the data that Nike and iPod collect is enough to satisfy anyone who doesn't plan on running marathons for a living.

Anyways, Happy New Year... So far my resolution is going well. ;)


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