If you’re a fitness tech enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of the Fitbit brand of fitness trackers, but now you will see Fitbit products at the movies, on television and in print and digital ads as part of the company's first global ad campaign. The campaign, which launched this week, is an attempt to build on the company's first-mover advantage and promote a raft of new products such as the Charge, the Charge HR and the Surge in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Fitbit products already dominate the fitness-tracker market, accounting for 70 percent of sales; together with the Jawbone Up fitness tracker (19 percent) and Nike’s discontinued FuelBand, the three companies make up 97 percent of the fitness-tracker market. But that could soon change as huge ad spenders such as Samsung, Apple, LG, Motorola and Intel get into the market along with carrier partners such as AT&T and Verizon. The wearables market is heating up fast; the question is whether Fitbit can stay ahead of the pack.
One problem: The functionality of the fitness tracker is getting integrated into a coming generation of smart watches -- at least 40 million of which will be shipped in 2015, according to Gartner analyst Angela McIntyre. Meanwhile, shipments of other fitness wearables (not smart watches) are expected to drop from 70.2 million units in 2014 to 68.1 million units in 2015.
Apple Inc. will likely lead the charge with its first wrist wearable, the Apple Watch, which is expected to launch in early 2015. Shipments of the Apple Watch could be as high as 30 million to 40 million units, some reports indicate. Garter, however, says that Apple could account for half of its prediction for total smart watch shipments. Apple is also preparing for competition on the market. The Cupertino, California-based company used to sell Fitbit fitness trackers in Apple stores but no longer does so as of early November. Fitbit announced in October that it had no plans to support Apple’s HealthKit software because the Fitbit Surge will be a direct competitor to the Apple Watch.
Fitbit has gained attention through public relations and data-driven digital advertising in addition to word of mouth. But the “Find Your Fit” campaign is Fitbit’s first global campaign, and it will use the company’s established, data-driven business model to cater to several different demographics that it hopes will take Fitbit’s popularity to the next level. “There’s a big enough opportunity to create broader awareness on a global scale,” said Fitbit Global Marketing VP Tim Rosa.
Fitbit’s 60-second spot launched in cinemas last week featuring music by Brett Anderson from The Donnas, and its 30-second spot launched on television on Tuesday, both depicting different types of fitness from running to biking to trapeze performance.
With its campaign, Fitbit aims to reach out to all of its core demographics that it has already identified through its data research on how Fitbit users utilize their devices. Users from baby boomers to millennials have found functions for Fitbit fitness trackers and may even use the same product for different reasons, Rosa said. Using information it has acquired from its products, Fitbit plans to cater its advertisements by age and by gender, with demographic-specific ads on certain channels. For example, a spot on the female-oriented Bravo would be different than a spot on the male-oriented ESPN.
The campaign will be utilized for further data research and business development, but the Fitbit doesn’t have any immediate plans for future campaigns. “The future will be very interesting, but we’re going to be testing the results of our campaign and seeing what works and what doesn’t work and either iterating or moving on,” Rosa added.
In addition to marketing its products to different demographics, Fitbit is marketing different products for different levels of interest/fitness categories -- for example, the Charge for everyday fitness, the Charge HR for active fitness and the Surge for performance fitness. These new Fitbit fitness trackers are technical and performance-oriented. The Charge, Charge HR and Surge include displays for important fitness information, and the Surge includes smart watch features that allow users to monitor calls and texts and control music.
The Charge, which is currently available for $129, includes an all-day activity tracker, an OLED display and watch, caller ID, a sleep tracker and alarm, wireless syncing for smartphones and computers and battery life of seven to 10 days. The Charge HR, which provides exercise tracking and dynamic heart-rate information without the use of a chest strap, will sell for $149.95. It includes all of the features on the original Charge. The Surge, which is being marketed as the “fitness super watch,” will sell for $249.95. It includes all of the features on the original Charge and Charge HR, as well as multisport tracking, GPS tracking and notifications and music support.