Lord of the Rings: How Apple Watch Fitness Rings Make You Want to Exercise

Finding the motivation to go to the gym, or go for a run, was something that had always eluded me, and I’m sure has eluded many people. Planet Fitness was essentially my personal Mordor. That is, until something more powerful than Gandalf himself came into my possession. What was this magical, motivational treasure? The Apple Watch.

For those who are unfamiliar, one of the many features that this Apple Watch offers is the activity app.  The app shows three rings that track calories burned, time spent exercising and the number of times you stand in a day.  Trying to fill the activity rings, based on the goals you set that week, is what helps drive the motivation to exercise longer and more frequently.  It also allows you to share your progress with friends, and also compete to see who can burn more calories and exercise longer.  During those competitions your watch will notify you of your current competition status throughout the day and even tell you when your fellow competitor finishes a workout in real time, giving you the tools to create your own fellowship to conquer your workouts!  A recent study has shown that competition is a better form of motivation for exercise, with competition-based exercise groups earning 90% more attendance than groups with individual motivation.



I never used to wear a watch outside of work or formal events but now, it’s become my One Ring as it were, with me being unable to leave the house without it.  In 2018, Apple took 51% of the global smartwatch market, which goes to show, the marketing behind this feature for the Apple Watch was second to none.

The first ad I saw showing off these features, showcased the friendly competition of pop stars, and brothers, Joe and Nick Jonas.  The success of this campaign is shown through Apple’s keen understanding of its target audiences and how to tailor content to different segments.

Watch the Video Here

Using competition as a motivational tool has proven to be very successful, both from a marketing standpoint with Apple promoting through celebrities like the Jonas Brothers, as well as, a fitness standpoint for consumers.  It is that competitive spirit that millions of people around the world take to the gym every week, in the hopes of becoming Lord of the (Activity) Rings.

Kieran Stack
Kieran has 2 years’ experience in management. He holds a B.S. in Communications Studies from SUNY College at Oneonta, where he honed skills of speaking, writing, and listening and navigating small group dynamics. During his time at Oneonta he also actively participated in the university’s Marketing Club.

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