With marathon season underway, one specific sponsorship jumped out at me. Arcadia Brewing Company, a Michigan-based craft beer brewery, is partnering with the inaugural Kalamazoo Marathon. According to marathon coordinator Karen Townsend, one of the first questions she received from the runners is whether there was going to be beer at the finish line tent. Instead of just filling the category and providing beer to runners and spectators, Arcadia Brewing really stepped up. Not only is the brewer sponsoring the event, but it will also be creating a special-edition ale (called Finish Line Ale) specifically for the event. more
Looking back at the season for marathons, triathlons and other endurance events that unofficially wrapped up last month with the ING New York City Marathon, it’s clear that sponsors have tuned into the many benefits and opportunities that make those events unique and desirable properties. They offer sponsors access to an engaged, passionate audience; often economical rights fees; opportunities for creative and meaningful activation; and opportunities to highlight a company’s social corporate responsibility efforts. more
In step with IEG’s projection that North American companies will increase their spending on marathons and running events by 2.5 percent in 2009 (to an estimated $86.1 million), I had the pleasure of participating in an inaugural half marathon event on November 22nd.
The first-time event—the Women’s Running magazine Women’s Half Marathon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society—was held in St. Petersburg, Florida. While I was first and foremost there as a charity runner, I had plenty of time on and off the course to check out the sponsorship activity. While my running resume is by no means prolific (especially compared to IEG’s resident ultramarathoner Shan Riggs), I have participated in enough races of varying distances, sizes and sponsor profiles to know the drill. more
With the Bank of America Chicago Marathon behind us, sights are set on the next major event on the running calendar: November’s ING New York City Marathon.
Unlike those who are particularly adept runners (my running style has occasionally been compared to that of a Mack truck), I focus not on incredible feats of endurance but feats of sponsorship activation.
One of the best activation examples of the upcoming ING New York City Marathon comes to us courtesy of Toyota.
P&G has stepped up sponsorship activity around its Cincinnati headquarters, signing title of Memorial Day weekend’s Taste of Cincinnati and expanding its partnership with last month’s Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.
The soap giant activated both deals with a handful of brands, each of which gained ownership of an on-site proprietary program. For example, the Taste of Cincinnati featured the Pampers Stroller Speed lane, the Bounty Quilted Picker Uppers cleaning teams and the Old Spice Swagger Zone, a special seating area where attendees could watch Cincinnati Reds games on a giant TV.
At the Flying Pig Marathon, P&G’s Tide used branded laundry carts to pick up clothing discarded by runners, Old Spice High Endurance deodorant awarded a prize to marathoners who ran the last mile the fastest, while Mr. Clean sponsored the Clean Your Clock fastest split-time award.
The strategy makes a lot of sense: In addition to promoting its hometown presence, P&G was able to make a more meaningful connection with its target audience by integrating its products into the fabric of each event. The multi-brand strategy also allowed P&G to spread the cost of the sponsorships over multiple budgets.
Way to go, P&G. more