As a partner of the Olympic Games, General Electric has an active interest in promoting the upcoming be-all, end-all athletic competition. That explains why the appliance manufacturer has partnered with Facebook to today launch HealthyShare, a Facebook application designed to encourage people to lead healthier and more active lifestyles, just like the athletes they admire.
HealthyShare, a product of GE and Facebook, is themed around the Summer Olympics in London. The application tasks Facebook users to take six different challenges with activities inspired by Olympic hopefuls and legends, including NBA star Kevin Durant and four-time gold medal-winning sprinter Michael Johnson.
With HealthyShare, users log their progress in challenges and are awarded points for each day of activity and for Facebook “likes.” The app’s stated mission is to encourage people to stay motivated while working to achieve their health and fitness goals.
“Many research studies show that our friends can help us live healthier lives,” Facebook’s global head of brand design, Paul Adams, said. “By supporting each other, we increase people’s motivation, helping them meet their goals of feeling better, and being healthier and happier. This new tool by GE is the first step in a vision to help people be healthier by interacting with their friends.”
The tool, however, is elementary at best and seems aimed at too broad an audience, thus making it fall short of its purpose, at least in this reporter’s eyes. Each challenge offers the bare minimum in guidance and only provides users with a simple prompt, text box, and “I did it today!” or “I didn’t do it today” buttons. Kevin Durant’s GE Olympic Games Challenge, for instance, is a routine that “includes sprinting, push-ups, and plenty of time with a basketball.” But, there’s no plan to follow or any real way to track progress. Instead, users get this question to answer: “What have you done to train like an Olympian today?”
All is not lost though. “The plan is to learn quickly from this release and continually improve this tool together in the coming months,” Adams said.
For now, the app seems to be a thinly veiled, slightly awkward attempt by GE to connect its brand to uplifting concepts, establish a little goodwill, and draw attention to its support of the Olympic Games. It’s a notion underscored by the fact that GE and Facebook have a financial arrangement around the app that includes Sponsored Story ad buys.
HealthyShare is only one part of GE’s Olympic Games media push, which also includes Twitter ad buys and community engagement (ie. earned media) efforts on hot social properties Pinterest, Viddy, and Instagram.