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Brands Launch New Subscriptions, Reflecting Consumer Behaviors Influenced By COVID-19

December 15, 2020 Carolyn Harding

Consumers’ evolving needs and shopping habits have been a key digital advertising story in 2020. From a gravitation toward at-home fitness to a heightened interest in improving mental health and wellness, consumers have challenged brands to keep up with their shifting product and service demands throughout the pandemic. The quest to meet consumers where they are, however, has not ended. As we round out the year and head into 2021, brands are continuing to connect with target audiences in new ways, including new subscription offerings that resonate with today’s consumer.

Apple Joins The At-Home Fitness Craze With Personalized Workout Subscription 

Shutterstock_1064400833 Bangkok, Thailand - April 09, 2018 : Women using the phone and checking activity app on Apple Watch, Created and developed by the Apple inc.

This week, Apple introduced its latest fitness offering, Apple Fitness+, calling the personalized subscription service “the future of fitness.” Available to all Apple Watch owners, Fitness+ costs for $9.99 a month and offers users a variety of workout classes and categories – including yoga, cycling, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and more – led by fitness instructors on any iPad, iPhone or Apple TV.

Through the Apple Fitness+ subscription service, Apple automatically syncs workout metrics from the Apple Watch (such as user heart rate or calories burned), making Fitness+ a fully personalized experience that can be easily accessible for users no matter where they are. “Apple also leverages any workout data you have shared to your iPhone’s Health app, including from third-party fitness apps. So if you’ve done yoga with Glo or cycling with Peloton, [Apple] Fitness+ will use that history to recommend similar workouts,” notes Wall Street Journal reporter Nicole Nguyen.

Apple Fitness+ works to create an “engaging and immersive experience” for subscribers from start to finish, even “animating” users on-screen throughout the course of the workout class. “For example, when the trainer says to check heart rate, the heart rate metrics are spotlighted; during tough intervals, a countdown timer starts to help users get through to the last second; and when they close their Activity rings, a celebration happens right on the workout screen,” the company shared.  

As many consumers avoid the traditional gym experience and seek safe, convenient options for physical exercise, subscription offerings like Apple’s Fitness+ are a prime example of leveraging the online fitness craze that has emerged during the pandemic in order to reach a wider audience. (The global at-home fitness market is expected to reach $9.49 billion this year.)

Colgate Prioritizes Mental Health Through Partnership With Headspace Plus Subscription Service 

Shutterstock_1563734671 Mobile phone with Headspace Meditation & Sleep icon on screen close up with website on laptop. Los Angeles, California, USA - 9 November 2019, Illustrative Editorial

Hum by Colgate, a line of smart toothbrushes, teamed up with popular mindfulness and meditation app Headspace to encourage healthy daily habits, less stress and more smiles during what is undoubtedly an uncertain time for many consumers. “The [Colgate / Headspace] partnership encourages consumers to treat the existing routines in their day – whether it’s going for a walk outside or brushing their teeth – as a chance to observe and reflect on their thoughts,” Colgate noted in its official press release.

Through the partnership, hum by Colgate will leverage the popular Headspace Plus subscription service by offering free trials to hum users, during which they will be able to take advantage of Headspace’s hub of “guided meditations and mindfulness exercises.” Colgate noted that “Recently, people have turned to apps as a way to reduce stress and stay connected, and to help them keep on top of their health and wellness. With Headspace Plus, [hum] users will now have access to additional tools to build mindful routines and better manage their stress.”

As the pandemic persists, consumers are continuing to seek out new ways to cope with the widespread stress and anxiety many people are feeling, leading many to gravitate toward helpful meditation and mindfulness content. The collaboration between Colgate and Headspace shows how brands can come together to meet consumers where they are and promote positive and relevant messages. This partnership will likely aid in establishing wider customer bases for both Colgate and Headspace.

Huggies Leverages Hulu To Connect With First Time Moms Adjusting To Parenthood During The Pandemic

As if parenthood isn’t daunting enough, add a global pandemic into the mix and the idea of being a first-time mom becomes that much scarier. Huggies recognized the unique situation many first-time moms are currently facing during COVID-19 and, in response, is teaming up with Scary Mommy (an entertainment company) to create a new streaming series on Hulu, coming December 17.

The new comedy series, called “Up Early Tonight,” will aim to bring a little joy to moms that may be facing unexpected challenges as a result of the pandemic. Mirroring a traditional late-night talk show, each episode of the Huggies/Scary Mommy partnership series will be hosted by famous comedian Abbi Crutchfield and feature light-hearted content - from funny sketches to monologues - surrounding what parenthood looks like in 2020.

Huggies' involvement in this latest Hulu series reflects how many brands are responding to the streaming boom that has emerged during COVID-19, as many people seek at-home entertainment options. The uptick in streaming has presented new advertising opportunities for businesses who may not have dabbled in the streaming space previously. “The Hulu show is styled after late-night programming and caters to an audience essential to the diaper marketer's business — new mothers — who may be spending less time with traditional media like TV, but are still searching for content that can keep them occupied, particularly at odd hours,” said Marketing Dive reporter Peter Adams.

Heading into 2021, brands must continue to proactively seek out advertising opportunities, strategic partnerships and relevant products and services that reflect consumers’ shifting needs and preferences. New subscription offerings – like that of Apple, Colgate and Huggies – which reflect today’s consumer, open the door for brands to increase engagement, convert new audiences and drive sales. Brands launching new subscription services must remember to promote these offerings as relevant content or services that provide consumers with value, access and convenience, as these factors are likely to remain top of mind for consumers in the long term.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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