Motivating yourself to exercise can be tough. What if it wasn’t just your own wellbeing but that of someone or something else’s that was at stake? Even more so if that something was a cute-as-a-button baby giraffe!
You’d get up and move, right? That’s the concept behind Tep, a hybrid between one of those Tamagotchi things from the 90’s and a fitness tracking app. The app gets you to fall in love with your giraffe (mine is called Suzy) and then requires you to exercise to keep the little thing happy.
With a gamification concept at the heart of the app, the more you work out, the happier your pet will be. After a run, cycle or walk, you’re rewarded for your progress with coins that you can spend on a whole bunch of delightful accessories including wellies and an assortment of berets. You can also buy food and upgrade the environment of your pet. The tiny giraffe is so adorable you’ll have your trainers on in seconds.
We caught up with the CEO of Tep, Boros Akos, to find out a little more:
What do you think makes Tep stand out from other fitness apps?
We believe that gamification can be a great motivator, especially for a long run. Our mission is to motivate people to live a physically more active and healthier life. The delightful colours of the user interface immediately represent this approach.
Did you have a lightbulb moment? Where did your inspiration for the app come from?
We were sitting at a start-up competition and brainstorming about the original idea when the idea owner confessed that he has another idea as well… and the rest is history.
Why do you think looking after a giraffe works so well as an incentive to get fit?
A user’s emotional bond to a virtual creature has already been proven by the Tamagotchi phenomenon. Tep’s competitive edge relies on emotional connection and the mental “threat” that the beloved pet might suffer from a lack of proper physical activity.
What research did you do into gamification before the app was developed?
We already had a beta version in 2013 when we started to test the whole methodology and motivational model of our application. Tep was more like a side project back then, we worked on it beside our jobs and our studies. According to our early user feedbacks, we started to improve our app and learn about the connection of game design and motivation.
Who are your main audience / is there a particular demographic that have engaged with Tep?
Our main audience are the grateful generation of female millennials and they are also the most engaged with our application. However, it’s also among our plan to create a version for kids as well.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the giraffe, but why a giraffe? Everybody loves giraffes! Somehow, they have a cute hype and an absurd appeal which can be even more fun when you start to dress them up :). In addition, they have a really good motivational message, since they were not designed to run, but still, they can be pretty fast if there is a need for it.
Are there any new features we can expect?
There are many! At the moment, our main focus is to make Tep compatible with many more fitness devices such as Google Fit. The first appeal bundles are also coming soon with special and funny themes. Furthermore, in the long run we are preparing something bigger, a level system that supports long-term engagement to become habit changing and help our fight against inactivity.