SBJ/Sept. 16-22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorships

Marketing for NYC Marathon keeps focus on moving forward

A year after the New York City Marathon was canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and five months after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the new marketing campaign for the 2013 New York City Marathon has a decidedly celebratory tone.

The tag line from new agency BBDO New York, is “26.2 Miles Make It A Race. You Make It A Marathon” and centers on the huge crowd of spectators and volunteers that will turn out to watch the first “return of the NYC Marathon” taking place Nov. 3. Ronnie Tucker, New York Road Runners vice president of marketing and digital, said that research from Turnkey Sports & Entertainment showed that fans and runners didn’t want to look back at last year’s cancellation or hear a tone of contrition.

“Certainly, our messaging tonality is respectful and appreciative,” she said. “The research told us [spectators] didn’t want us to issue an apology or to look back; they wanted to celebrate and be inspired by the marathon.”

Accordingly, the campaign seeks to celebrate the marathon as the ultimate connection between fan and event and a demonstration of that shared experience. The campaign will be spread across TV, out-of-home, print, digital, and a social campaign that will promote the hashtag #INGNYCM.

The social campaign will be featured on a total of nine Jumbotrons situated across from the start of the race, as well as along the course and at the finish area. Each will show a feed of tweets and Instagram photos throughout the race.

Tucker said the primary objectives of the campaign are to promote tune-in and other fan engagement, adding that the marketing budget of $3 million to $4 million was comparable to last year.

“After last year, there’s a heightened focus on the [New York City] Marathon, so this is a real opportunity,” Tucker said. “The approach we developed with the agency is targeting the collective ‘you’ and deepening our relationship there.”

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