Idea of The Week: You – an Olympic racer?

>The Situation:

If you’re like most of us, the thought of gettin’ down to the gym doesn’t exactly lift you up. But look at this. If you join Vancouver’s newest fitness center – at the Richmond Olympic Oval – you’re not going for a workout – you’re heading for head to head competition with the world’s best.

>The Idea:

Imagine yourself working out on a rowing machine – that’s hooked up to a bank of 16 plasma television screens. First, pick the color of your boat. Now – ready, set, go – you’re off – on a televised race across those 16 huge screens. Wow. This isn’t a workout. This is pure excitement. And (of course) it’s also pure marketing genius.  Planners of the center ‘know’ that it takes motivation to move people to exercise regularly. So their idea has been to simulate the excitement and challenge of interactive arcade video games – and Olympic competition (and even a simulated run through the Grand Canyon, for those working the treadmills).

>The Risk:

Our Marketing Dangerously Risk-O-Meter’s arrow is hammering up and down on the number ‘0.’ There is no risk here (unless exercisers are so motivated and so regular that they limit the total number of memberships the center can sell. Hmm.)

>The Reward:

The buzz surrounding this brand new fitness mecca is already huge (they opened on July 5). My prediction. They will reach sales capacity faster than a speeding skull boat (is that what they’re called?)

>The Call to Action:

The Olympic Oval Fitness Center gives us a role model to follow in thinking about steering our own businesses onto the wave of a massive trend. The trend? Customer interaction. Simulation. Video projection. Sheer size of imagery. Action. Competition. Effort, risk, failure, success, reward, loss, fun! (Reminds me of my work with a ‘package’ home builder at the moment – where we’re planning to place a 3-D simulation program on the website, so that people planning to buy or build a home can customize to their heart’s content – then hit a button that enables the factory to convert their dream into working drawings. ‘This’ is the future. And it’s here now!

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