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Volume 20 No. 45

Marketing and Sponsorship

New York Road Runners has signed Jenny Simpson, 1,500-meter bronze medalist at the Rio Olympics, to become its first full-time brand ambassador, a role that includes becoming the public face of its youth running program and promoting the club’s events year round.

The New York City Marathon organizer routinely works with professional runners in one-off race appearance deals, but this more expansive relationship is “about being a part of who we are as an organization,” said NYRR spokesman Chris Weiller. In addition to the marathon, the club organizes dozens of smaller events around New York.

Simpson’s first duty will be special adviser and ambassador to Rising New York Road Runners, the club’s free youth outreach program, but she will work with executives to find other ways to promote NYRR in the future.

This is Simpson’s first commercial deal outside of her shoe/apparel contract with New Balance. The three-time Olympian had eschewed other promotional work until now, but she said she reached a point in her career where she began to consider her legacy. An urban club that works through schools to promote running was an ideal choice, she said, given her own background.

“Sports is something I really found on my own, and I found it through the public school system,” she said. “I found that to be a really powerful and really democratic way for kids to find sports.”

The deal includes standard name-and-likeness rights and in-person appearances, but also calls for Simpson to play a strategic role in the nonprofit’s programming. Details beyond the youth club are yet to be worked out, but possible areas of emphasis include anti-doping and running etiquette campaigns. Financial terms were not disclosed.

New Balance signed a 10-year sponsorship of NYRR in late 2015 but was not involved in this new deal.

In one spot, part of the first creative work for the league by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, a soon-to-be mom is expecting NFL action. description here.
Marketing behind the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” TV schedule, which begins this week, includes the first creative work for the league by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, a social media promo with a “Thursday Night Football” mobile marketing vehicle, and a “TNF” integration with JibJab.

“Thursday Night Football” is an age-old marketing problem of maintaining avid customers while trying to attract new ones. Thus, Goodby’s TV spots are devoid of NFL highlights, instead showing a woman who arises during labor to turn on the TV and watch the NFL. Another ad shows a group of millennials during a conference call with their boss. He thinks they are talking about work; they know they’re talking about the NFL.

“The consumer insight here is that millennials start their weekend on Thursdays, so when that game is on, the party has started,” said Julie Haddon, senior vice president of marketing for NFL Media.

Social media support features a “Find the NFL Media Cruiser” promo, in which fans find and post pictures of a trailer containing the “Thursday Night Football” broadcast set. Posts with the #TNFSweepstakes tag are entered in a sweepstakes.

A hookup with JibJab will allow users to integrate their “Thursday Night Football” matchup-focused artwork to make their own GIFs, stickers, frames or add to selfies for social media sharing.