If you asked the average American for their thoughts on the MyFitnessPal app, chances are, many would tell you it’s a relic of the early aughts. But in reality, the platform is not only still alive and kicking, but thriving as the No. 1 nutrition and food-tracking app in the world. So to reintroduce its brand, appeal to a new generation of health-conscious consumers and provide nutritional education designed to help women advocate for themselves, MyFitnessPal hosted an exclusive influencer event at the sprawling Lombardi House in Los Angeles. The experience served as the brand’s first foray into experiential marketing.
A key driver of the May 3 “Nourish: Mind and Body for Women” experience, timed to Women’s Health Month, was a pre-event survey of 1,000 women in the U.S. conducted by MyFitnessPal that uncovered some troubling data. For one, women’s concerns around their mood, focus, energy and sleep have been heightened by the pandemic. For another, many women are caught in a vicious cycle in which they turn to social media to get health and wellness information that is not only typically inaccurate, but makes them feel terrible about their bodies. The brand aimed to break the cycle by arming its attendees with not only education, but a sense of empowerment to create wellness changes unique to their needs.
“MyFitnessPal has changed a lot. We’re not just about weight loss; we’re really focused on nutrition and how it impacts people’s bodies,” says Amanda Mahan, vp-content/social/p.r./influencers/partnerships at MyFitnessPal. “And that hasn’t necessarily been communicated out into the world yet, so that was one goal. The second was that nutrition tends to be very serious and we want people to feel that it’s joyful. We thought an event was an immersive way to do that.”
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Around 75 women, including fitness influencers, media, personal trainers and chefs, were invited to the Nourish event, held at the lavish indoor/outdoor Lombardi estate. MyFitnessPal kicked things off with an energetic workout powered by an all-female playlist and led by Deja Riley, a high-octane wellness influencer and director of Fit for Us. Following the workout, attendees took to their branded yoga mats for a mindful eating meditation guided by Riley in which they learned about savoring the joy of every bite. Their skills were immediately put to the test as they sipped pressed juices and munched on healthy snacks, post-meditation.
Next up was a fireside chat between MyFitnessPal ceo Tricia Han and gastro psychologist (yep, that’s a thing) Dr. Uma Naidoo, who discussed using the right nutritional balance to counter mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Lunch followed the chat, and the options, of course, were vast, allowing for attendees to customize the meal to their own dietary needs. MyFitnessPal even had a staff nutritionist work with the on-site chef to ensure everything was balanced and nutritious. The brand also made a point of serving ingredients with well-known nutritional benefits, like blueberries, which reduce inflammation.
The main event wrapped with an “Eating for Impact” panel featuring a range of health experts. Volleyball champion Gabby Reece discussed her approach to nutrition while performance training; Dr. Amy Shah, author of “I’m So Effing Tired,” talked about how the right diet can boost mood and promote sleep; plant-based nutritionist Megan Roosevelt touted the benefits of a plant-based diet; and Lauren Talbert, a dietician and expert on menstrual cycles, educated attendees on the importance of paying attention to their diet in order to properly support themselves through the different phases of their periods. After the panel, attendees could participate in one-on-one nutrition consultations with certified gut health expert Jeni Hollifield.
MyFitnessPal also showcased a colorful farmer’s market installation on-site featuring wooden crates packed with artistically-arranged fruit, vegetables and snacks from various partners. Attendees were invited to pick up a branded bag and fill it up with the goodies, and many of them used the setting as the backdrop to their social posts. A photo op with a mobile-like effect had participants posing under a collection of faux, translucent fruits and vegetables, a subtle nod to the brand’s commitment to transparency and providing nutritional information that helps consumers understand different foods’ impact.
Attendees were sent home with a copy of Dr. Naidoo’s book, “This Is Your Brain on Food,” and a three-month premium membership to MyFitnessPal. The brand went home having reached 130 million people with the help of its influential guests.
“The theme throughout was about paying attention to how what you eat impacts you, because it’s different for everyone,” says Mahan. “We wanted attendees to arm themselves with information. And it kind of tied back to our product, too, in terms of tracking your food and knowing what’s in your body is going to give you the best chance at advocating for yourself and feeling empowered.” Agency: Demonstrate.
Photo credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MyFitnessPal