"We wanted to make a product designed for the people who don't go to gyms, but are making other changes to boost fitness--like parking their car at the other side of the parking lot, chasing the kids around, or gardening to get more exercise," he says. "They want something more than a $6 pedometer to track their progress, and we wanted something that would give these unstructured exercisers valuable information about their fitness routine."
The FA20 Activity Computer looks like any workout watch--"but unlike a heart rate monitor, it measures not just effort but forward motion, including how many calories are burned doing non-structured activities, like housework," he says. The FA20, which sells for about $120, enables users to download information to polarpersonaltrainer.com, so they can track their progress over time. "While it's a step up in sophistication," he says, "it doesn't seem as complicated--or intimidating--as a heart-rate monitor, which requires a chest strap. It's just a very simplified way of managing exercise output."
In addition to print ads in Walking, the company is counting on social media to get the word out--using forums on its own Web sites, a YouTube channel, and soon, a Facebook page. And while the mall-walking crowd may not conjure up your typical viral marketing audience, he says Polar has been impressed with just how active they are in online searches: "When people are interested in changing their behavior, the way they figure out how to do that is on the Web."