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Will consumers go for Hydroxycut’s branded fitness app?

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Hydroxycut is releasing an app for New Year's resolutioners

Hydroxycut is introducing a new weight loss application based on a recent study conducted on Americans views of New Year's Resolutions, but it is yet to be said whether those Americans will warm to less-than-impartial fitness advice.

The app looks to be modeled off of other fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal and Noom, offering users the opportunity to monitor their weight loss results with meal tracking, supplement reminders and a simple to understand exercise plan. However, the full suite of features may not be enough to detract from the simple fact that a healthier consumer does not necessarily fill Hydroxycut’s pockets. 

“Why would a consumer ‘want’ to use the Hydroxycut branded app, as opposed to one of the more impartial, established fitness apps?” said James McNally, director of digital strategy at TDT, New York. “Frankly, a well-informed consumer would be unlikely to choose the Hydroxycut app over MyFitnessPal, Nutrino, Fooducate, or any other ‘real’ fitness app.

“The PR buzz alone of releasing a new app may be worth it to Hydroxycut, and the brand may realize the app is unlikely to gain real traction.”

Hydroxycut app
As mentioned above, the app is based on insights from a study Hydroxycut conducted on American views on New Year’s Resolutions, which are most often health and fitness based. 

The study revealed that 56 percent of Americans would make New Year's Resolutions specifically about adopting a healthier lifestyle. However within the first week, six million people will have already broken those commitments. 

The study documented that the struggle of losing weight continues to remain the number one resolution and also showed that people believe it is also the most challenging one to keep.

And while the study itself is useful, it is questionable whether Hydroxycut’s app itself addresses some—or any—of the needs unique to the resolutioner. 


Hydroxycut claims that “throughout the weight loss journey, individuals can face challenges in meeting proper nutritional intake levels, proper hydration, and exercising regularly, all of which can influence weight loss success. The new Hydroxycut app minimizes the challenges associated with everyday diet programs by holistically supporting a more comprehensive approach, tailored to meet the needs of men and women, regardless of their fitness levels.”

However, none of this evinces anything specific to the weight loss goals of New Years resolutioners, or even anything that other, non-branded fitness apps offer. With this in mind, consumers should be wary that of Hydroxycut’s incorporation of their New Year’s Resolutions with the rollout of this app, which smacks more of a marketing maneuver than anything substantial.

“Is it possible that this app will be helpful to some individuals whose fitness/nutrition plan incorporates Hydroxycut products? Sure,” Mr. McNally said. “Is it the best fitness/nutrition app out there? Not even close.  

“Fitness and nutrition are two driving factors in my life, and becoming empowered in these areas, to live a more healthy and enjoyable life, is one of the most valuable things anyone can do for themselves,” he said. “However, I feel bad for people who let diet supplement brands influence them in these efforts; Hydroxycut may be helpful for some people on their fitness journey but at the end of the day, Hydroxycut is in the business of selling caffeine-laden supplements that help suppress appetite and give users energy while they run a calorie deficit. 

“There is nothing inherently wrong with those specific effects of the product, but users shouldn't trust Hydroxycut to do anything more than sell them a caffeine-based supplement. Users should keep in mind that this is Hydroxycut unleashing a marketing app on them, not Hydroxycut giving them an impartial and holistic wellness tool.”

New Year’s Resolution
Customers looking for a mobile or tech-based product to augment the pursuit of New Year’s Resolutions have a number of recently released products to choose from in the coming year, both satisfactory and unsatisfactory. 

In October eyewear giant Oakley, in partnership with tech titan Intel, released its latest product, smart eyewear that features a voice-activated coaching system, tracking performance and integrating various data points through a new mobile application that was released concurrently (see story).


On the other end of the spectrum, watchmaker Timex released a fitness tracker in November, which, much like the Hydroxycut app, features a basic suite of features, but, unlike the app, was designed with the priority of form over function (see story). 

“Unsurprisingly, the app experience is fairly poor, not uncommon when brands cloak a marketing tool as a utility product,” Mr. McNally said. “The design is dated, the userflow is not seamless, and the app focuses on the somewhat narrow concept of getting users to a ‘target’ weight. 

“The hyper-focus on a specific scale weight is precisely the type of self-conscious fear and anxiety that drives many people to try products like Hydroxycut in the first place, rather than focusing on holistic fitness,” he said. “As can be expected, Hydroxycut products are featured front and center, and the app ‘helps’ make it easy for users to track their daily usage of the product. 

“The design and UX are a C+ at best, and the overall app is a vaguely depressing marketing tool that plays on people's insecurity around diet and fitness, and overemphasizes the role of supplements like Hydroxycut. In a few months this will be one more failed branded app that never had a chance in the first place, and only exists to sell a few products, and to create some media buzz (such as this article).”

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach him at rakin@napean.com.

 
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