31 Ekim 2016 Pazartesi

The Brands That Get You Moving

Leading a regularly active life in Turkey, and especially in big cities, is eminently grueling. If you are working, you are most probably spending most of your day sitting in front of a computer screen. If you ever get a membership at a fitness center, this adventure of yours first starts with enthusiasm only to gradually fade into going to the gym once a week, then once a month and finally “I don’t remember the last time I went there”. Bicycle usually is nothing but a dream for the ones living in Istanbul. And what’s more, our dietary habits become increasingly worse and unhealthy.

Non-govermental organizations and doctors have started a war against obesity which has heightened recently in Turkey, as well. According to the research conducted by the Active Living Association, 75 percent of the Turkish population is inactive. The most inactive ones are youth 15-19 years of age. It worries everyone that especially children are getting more and more inactive, spending hours sitting in front of either computer or TV screens. That being the case, brands just can’t remain unresponsive in this situation. Numerous brands from various categories have lately been involved in the endeavor to prevent inactivity and to motivate people to lead a more active life.

Due to the fact that sports embodies activity and active lifestyle, it certainly is the sports brands that lead the way in this undertaking. Activity and its importance are manifested in the communication of almost every player in this category, just like Nike’s “Everything’s Possible As Long As You Move” platform. Rexona, one of the deodorant brands which are somehow related to action although not as directly as sports, is another name that comes to mind among the ones that encourage activity.

Everyone remembers the “Turkey’s Most Popular Moves” ad campaign that has been re-running on TV nowadays.

Clothing brands too have started to promote the active life. North Face used to be a retailer who increased its sales in the autumn-winter season but it has now gone one step further from being only an outdoor brand and re-positioned itself as an active lifestyle brand. Apple’s Pedometer app is one of the notable examples to directly encourage its users to get into action.

Other brands that we could hardly have imagined are starting to include themselves in this war dominated so far by the sports, clothing and technology brands. These are ready-to-serve food brands such as Ülker, Eti, McDonalds and Nestlé... As brands become more conscious along with the consumers, considerable amount of investment is being made for changing old consumption habits and promoting and motivating activity.

The Yellow Bicycle Project which has been brought to life under the collaboration of the Active Living Association and Eti and whose communication we have been seeing frequently, encourages people to cycling and thus rendering them more active in their daily lives. The “Fancy Bicycle” activity that has recently taken place is assuming a similar mission by inviting more and more people to get into action and use bicycle more in daily life.

Ülker developed and launched many sports projects in order to encourage children to lead active lives and has reached a total of 272,500 children in various sports branches with its “Children and Sports” projects in the last 8 years.

Pursuant to the increasing child obesity figures, McDonalds has launched a campaign entitled “It’s what I eat and what I do… I’m lovin’ it” to motivate youth to exercise more and get healthy-nutrition conscious. New packagings, TV commercials, print ads, educational brochures and a website that gives hints for an active lifestyle have been implemented within the framework of this campaign.
Coca-Cola Life Plus Foundation has developed a project entitled “Come Out and Play”. With this project, Coca-Cola turns the schoolyards into active playgrounds and invites children to come out and play. On the other hand, PepsiCo has been developing projects especially with youth to encourage and promote physical activity. PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation endorse physical activity particularly for children with lots of benefactions and partnerships.

There also are brands that turn physical activity into a game and set specific goals for their consumers. Nestlé incorporates the weight to be potentially lost with Optifast together with a clinical trial program and supports its consumers to establish an active lifestyle for themselves. Kellogg’s All-Bran offers the All-Bran Pedometer for free, sets simple goals like “daily steps” and motivates its consumers to reach their goals.

With reference to that many brands motivating their consumers to be active in this time and age, we have conducted a research to investigate the sports habits in the society and to extract the brands associated with promoting and encouraging activity within the consumers’ minds. The research comprised of 100 females and males who are 16-45 years of age, AB/C1/C2 SES and who live in İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

83% of people we have interviewed think that they are physically active within their daily lives. They have claimed to be phyically active within the day by idling around on feet, taking walks, running around in the hustle and bustle of the office or taking the stairs. It appears that an active life stands for running around and busyness for the interviewees. Even waiting in line for the metrobus may add up to being active under the current circumstances of life. The ones who are not physically active specify not finding the opportunity because of the traffic, having a deskjob in an office and sitting motionless by the computer as reasons why.

2 out of 10 interviewees state that they do sports on a regular basis. The ones who do sports prefer fitness centers the most, secondarily outdoors (on the street) and thirdly at home. Walking and running are what they do the most. Swimming , playing football and weight lifting are among the other branches of sports they do.

34% of the interviewees use cars for transportation. Minibuses, metrobuses, metro and walking are the others means of transportation.

More than half of the consumers stated that they know how to be active in their daily lives mentioning the internet, fitness centers, TV programs and social media as their sources of information.

When they were asked about the brands that accentuate being active in their communication, 14% answered that there are such brands and mentioned sports brands such as Nike and Adidas. When asked about the brands that carry out projects on leading active lives, 19% remarked that they are in the know of such projects and named Nike, Rexona, various ministries and “the race that Vodafone had held on the bridge”.

Encouraging of activity by the brands is seen as a model behavior and gets credit among consumers. Since Turkey is thought to fall behind in sports/active life, the fact that brands are taking action in this sense is seen as a positive contibution in terms of raising awareness. In addition to this, it is thought that there needs to be more sponsors and events. Some skeptics stated that they think the projects launched by brands to promote activity are indeed profit-oriented projects and are executed to actually drive consumption rather than activity.

The interviewees have mostly associated sports brands like Adidas, Nike or Puma with encouraging physical activity. Other than this, sports shops like Decathlon and brands that manufacture and sell sports equipment are organically linked with promoting an active lifestyle.

In this period where it is scientifically proven that we are getting more and more inactive and unhealthy but at the same time become more health conscious, lots of people strive to overcome this with minor or major behavioral changes as much as their lifestyles permit. Some choose to walk around in the office and some allocate specific time for their routine workout in order to tackle with their inactivity in daily life.

More brands should come up with motivational projects and activities in today’s world where active life and healthy nutrition increasingly gain importance and consumers expect brands to assume more responsibilities in this sense. Although active life as a subject is rather associated with sports brands – thanks to the learned codes – in the consumers’ minds, it is most certain that other brands will increase their share of mind and reinforce their position in their consumers’ hearts in consequence of all the efforts and initiatives.

Now is the time for brands to get into action!

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