Brands Go the Distance with Marathon Sponsorship

marathon-advertisingThe general mood and energy level at a marathon is unlike anything else. If you’ve never been to a marathon, it’s hard to describe just how excited, emotional, and overwhelmed with positivity the people participating in and watching these events can be. Every marathon is a celebration of dedication, of hard work, and of the triumph of the human body. That’s why savvy companies around the nation choose to sponsor marathons.

No matter where the race is or how many thousands of people compete in it, marathon sponsorship automatically associates your brand with all of the virtues and positive feelings that are exemplified by endurance sports. They are an excellent opportunity to show the humanity of your brand, as well as a great place to reach large numbers of active, healthy, smart consumers with your marathon advertising.

In the past, marathon advertising used to focus on banners placed along the edges of the race course. These banners serve a double purpose of marking the path for the runners and promoting your brand. Yet, banners and the occasional overhead sign are only the beginning. Smart companies like Bank of America have literally taken to the streets to promote their brand at marathons. For example, at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, Bank of America was the primary sponsor and proudly displayed its logo along the edges of, above, and directly on the finish line.

Now, if you’ve ever actually run a marathon, you know that the approach leading up to that finish line is one of the greatest natural highs in sports. As you get closer, you can see your time displayed on a digital screen above the line. However, as you get right up to the finish, your eyes drift down from those screens and onto that thick line which marks completion of the race. We don’t imagine there’s a runner in the world who doesn’t look down at that finish line and watch their feet sail over it.

For that very reason, in 2011, Bank of America chose to place their logo directly on the finish line, linking their brand with this moment of triumph. In order to do so, Bank of America used SportWalk, a nonslip medium for printing which is durable enough to withstand thousands of pairs of feet treading across it without loss of color or brightness.

Keep in mind that the opportunities for marathon advertising directly on the runners’ path don’t begin and end with the finish line. Marathon sponsors can place highly durable, nonslip advertisements anywhere along the route, offering up motivation, encouragement, and a source of entertainment along the arduous run. With such advertisements, companies can generate positive experiences of their brand with every person who runs that race.

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