Commentary

Johnson & Johnson Super Serves Us With Workout App

Nothing bespeaks the value of Johnson & Johnson's new 7 Minute Workout app more than the fact that it is hard to find among all the similarly named apps that cost you something. In fact, what is really impressive about this app is that there is nothing skimpy about the content. You get a full-bore high-intensity workout with videos, personal tracking, background information, etc. In most other apps in the category, the in app purchases hit you pretty early on.

The app is part of the larger service arm of Johnson & Johnson, a subsidiary called Wellness & Prevention, Inc. They help companies and organizations improve the health of their own employees, run a performance research institute and have a series of products that assist health care plans. So there is a business in here somewhere, but it is fairly well wrapped around a lot of publicly available research, webinars and an app like this one.

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A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson tells me in an email exchange: “This is not part of a branding exercise – rather an example of J&J’s growing commitment to wellness and helping individuals invest in their health.  We teach this workout in our Corporate Athlete course at our Human Performance Institute and developed the app as a service for our clients and customers, but J&J wanted to be able to offer it to the larger population.”

This app speaks to the incredible opportunity that brands have within the wearable media and fitness tracker market. Here is where we find a kind of service that communicates its value immediately and unambiguously to the user. Historically, diet plans and personal trainers were some of the few early kinds of digital content that people were willing to pay for. When publishers were struggling with paywalls and digital subscriptions, companies like Rodale were making bank with online “belly-off” programs and the like. This is an area of content where sponsors do not need to pretend to “add value.” They just need to create helpful services. 

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