ISSUES

An Ab-Do Attitude

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Working as an Olympic strength and conditioning coach in the early 1990s, John Abdo invented an appliance that helped athletes strengthen their abdominal and lower-back muscles. He took a simple prototype to direct response marketing company Thane Direct, and before long, that product—the AbDoer—was helping millions of people worldwide give their cores a satisfying crunch.

Since, Thane has been building the AbDoer brand, with Abdo’s help as the appliance’s lead spokesperson, user, and fitness instructor. Improved versions include the AbDoer Twist, which helps users target the obliques. And this year, Thane is introducing the new AbDoer 360 to offer users a complete aerobic workout in the home.

“Thane is focused on continuing to innovate and bring new features to its product lines—hence the continuous development of the AbDoer,” says Amir Tukulj, CEO of Ontario-based Thane Direct. “The AbDoer Twist was successful, and a couple of years ago, we had the idea to add the Dynamic Fluidity Seat,” which functions like an exercise ball to aid in strengthening the core.

The latest version also offers a massaging back support and a range of exercises designed to offer users a full-body, aerobic workout in comfort. “People want new and innovative ways to exercise, and the attraction of the AbDoer is that you are able to exercise in a seated position,” Tukulj says. “You can get a full-body workout without getting down on the floor.”

“On a stationary bike, you only move your knees,” Abdo notes. “On the AbDoer, you get to move every part of your body. The exercise routines are choreographed and symmetrical, like a boxer’s or a gymnast’s. With the AbDoer, you’re accelerating the metabolism with no strain to the spinal column.”

The latest long-form highlights the international success of the AbDoer brand, depicting and interviewing happy users in Paris, Beijing, and less-exotic locales. The infomercial performed well in testing before the product’s resolution- season rollout in the United States, and Thane expects to ship half a million AbDoer 360s around the world.

The brand and partnership have come a long way since Thane helped launch the original AbDoer. “I risked everything to bring AbDoer to market, and the education I got was fantastic,” Abdo says. “Thane understood the product immediately. They have great in-house engineers and are very detailed when it comes to manufacturing a quality product. And since Thane is able to communicate the product’s benefits, the consumer gets the product—and keeps it.”