July 28, 2010

MMA: The New Trend in SF Fitness

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the fast growing sports in America. UFC pay-per-view events now routinely beat both WWE and boxing events in terms of revenue generated ... and the DRTV industry has taken note.

It's now clear that despite its high price point, Body By Jake's Tower 200 -- starring UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture -- is a bona-fide hit. It was No. 9 on the April True Top 50 (although it did not appear on the May chart). As a result, DRTV marketers are trying to replicate its success, looking to find their own "Randy" to help them succeed in the burgeoning short-form men's fitness category, which I believe is fueled by the MMA crowd even when its heroes do not pitch the product.

Two new examples of this trend are Ontel's Iron Arms, starring UFC nice-guy Rich Franklin, and something called the Body Action System from MMA veteran Bas Ruten.

Ontel's item is a line extension of Iron Gym. It was produced by Annika Kielland's LoudMouth TV, the same shop that did the aforementioned hit, and is another example of her fine work in fitness. As for the product, the positives are that it's unique and costs just $19.99 -- well below what seems to be the impulse-price threshold for this category.

The only negative is the product is focused on just one part of the body: the forearms. In one sense, the strategy is laudable. Most marketers tend to play it safe when it comes to short-form fitness and target only the abs/core. But while this focus has produced many hits, it keeps getting harder to come up with something people haven't heard before.

These days, in fact, the hits tend to be items that focus on new parts of the body. BodyRev's Perfect Pushup comes to mind, as does Fitness IQ's Shake Weight. These winners also demonstrate that a narrower focus is needed in short-form to succeed, which makes sense given the limited amount of time available to explain the product. But the focus of Iron Arms may be too narrow. Getting a firm chest and toned arms is one thing, but how many people want stronger forearms?

At the other end of this spectrum is the Bas Ruten item. It is expensive (starting at $299.99) and the focus is a full-body workout. However, I think it will have less appeal than similar fitness items because it's a large contraption. It also seems to be primarily for people who want to learn martial arts as opposed to just getting in shape. I suppose the theory is this could be the next Tae Bo, but Bas Ruten is no Billy Blanks. His bicep-kissing shtick will only appeal to a certain segment of the male population.

So is going "MMA" the new way to ensure DRTV success in the fitness category? Only time will tell, and I for one will be watching closely.


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  2. True, MMA became a huge influence in the fitness circle, due to their showcase of power and awesomeness. Even with my friend that is an ex-amateur MMA fighter who won his retirement match by submission after getting his teeth knocked out (which resulted him to visit the Ft. Lauderdale dentist a day after the match) agrees on how it targets their target demographic. When my best friend visited my home after his dental implant treatment at the Ft. Lauderdale dentistry clinic, we also discussed on how MMA becoming more and more popular as time goes by.