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Volume 21 No. 34
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NYRR is looking beyond the races to health and wellness


n elite runner can complete the TCS New York City Marathon’s five-borough, 26.2-mile course in less than two hours and 10 minutes. Last year’s average time for more than 50,000 male and female runners was about 4:39, and an 88-year-old woman finished in an impressive 7:30.15.

New York Road Runners, the parent and property owner of the marathon, scheduled for its 47th running Sunday, has been on course with a marathon that will take considerably longer: tweaking its brand to be centered more on a healthy, active lifestyle and less on events.

Ronnie Tucker, NYRR senior vice president, marketing and digital, said that recent research showed that health and wellness associated with running events was often as important to NYRR’s constituency as the events themselves. Accordingly, “we’ve been shifting our communications to be more mission-driven,” she said.

Additionally all three of the NYRR consumer segments — competitive runners, fitness runners and aspirational runners — indicated they were looking for more social connections around running. How best to serve them?

“We’re looking at more social engagement in whatever products we create,” Tucker said, noting that the NYRR youth program had recently moved from a running and lap-based training regimen to one that looks to build “physically literate kids.”

“We’ve been an event-driven organization and now are looking at more digital, social and possibly even VR applications,” she said. “We’re looking at how to leverage all the goodwill and create new products, and new kinds of events for runners, including new training opportunities.”

Like every repositioning, it’s evolutionary, but Tucker said her goal is to make NYRR the running lifestyle brand.

“At our core, we are a nonprofit, purpose-driven brand,” she said. “Some people lack access and inspiration to be active for life. We want it to be clear that we can provide that.”

> DAK’S RIGHT: There’s considerable social media debate over whether the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz or the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott is the best quarterback in the NFC East. So far, there can be no argument over which of the second-year quarterbacks is having more commercial success. While Wentz’s Eagles had the NFL’s best record at press time, Prescott is running up the score as far as national TV commercials.

QB Dak Prescott is proving to be a popular pitchman.
During the Cowboys’ recent bye week, Prescott had time to shoot more TV ads — his first for Dannon yogurt; a Frito-Lay spot supporting the Cowboys’ longtime holiday cause-related ties with the Salvation Army; and a Pepsi spot in which Prescott is joined by Deion Sanders, along with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Prescott is represented by Jabez Marketing Group’s Peter Miller, who noted that the Dannon deal was signed before the season and thus well before Cam Newton’s problems and eventual dismissal by Dannon after Newton made sexist remarks to a female reporter. Many reports had Dannon signing Prescott just after canning Newton.

Prescott also has deals and TV ads with Adidas, DirecTV, Campbell’s Chunky Soup, 7-Eleven and New Era, along with an endorsement for Beats.

>  COMINGS & GOINGS: Christine Brown joins Mattress Firm (the former Sleepy’s), which has more than 3,500 locations in 49 states, as vice president, corporate marketing, primarily overseeing activity in the Northeast. Brown held the same title at NRG from 2012 to 2017, a stint preceded by 13 years at Octagon. … Longtime IP rights seller Paul Asencio joins UFC as senior vice president, global partnerships, based in New York City. Asencio was with Fanatics as vice president, venue business development, since late 2015, following 17 years in corporate sponsorship sales with the New York Mets. … Meg Meurer Brossy joins advertising market tracker/media cost experts Standard Media Index as senior vice president, client solutions.

Terry Lefton can be reached at