Internet-banking giant ING and their sponsorship of perhaps one of the largest sporting events took a big blow in 2012.
“Superstorm Sandy” landed on the upper east coast starting on October 22 through October 31st, 2012. Hurricane Sandy would become the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history. The ING New York City Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on November 4, went through a painful decision-making process that resulted in the full cancellation of the marathon only two days before the event.
With the cancellation, ING and the New York Road Runners club faced a hailstorm of criticism. Runners were upset the marathon was cancelled. Runners were upset the marathon was not cancelled sooner. Participants took to blogs and social sites to express their feelings. Race organizers faced a daunting PR challenge, but one not completely unique to events of this nature. What to do with all the race swag?
From t-shirts and clappers to the actual finishers medal, race organizers faced a difficult problem. In an effort to create goodwill among racers who couldn’t race and wanting to encourage people to sign-up for next year’s race they made an unprecedented decision. They would take every opportunity to get the gear to the 2012 registrants. When race entrants showed up to the 2013 expo to get their race bibs and promotional items, the 2012 registrants were directed to a location within the Javitz Center to receive the 2012 race shirt and their 2012 finisher’s medal.
Image by Robert Reese
The icing on the PR cake for ING and the NYRR came in the form of a poncho. In light of the events in Boston last year, race entrants were strongly discouraged from checking a bag at the race start for security reasons. Following the completion of the race, if a runner had not checked a bag they were directed to a special area of the race route. Upon exiting the official race area, runners were given a customized fleece-lined poncho.
The ING Marathon is not the first event to face a swag problem. Each year teams produce promotional items to acknowledge a sporting event that hasn’t happened yet. In the event that your team is playing in the big game, chances are the celebratory shirts and hats have already been printed. When the team loses, what to do with the promotional or marketing materials? Because of licensing agreements, most items are donated overseas.
The ING NYC Marathon organizers were able to heal some old wounds by giving 2012 runners their gear and medals. And, they were able to build good will with the 2013 by rewarding them for choosing the less convenient bag option. In this case, the ponchos went a long way towards swag redemption.
I’m a runner, not a fast runner, but a runner none the less. I’d say that I do about 5-10 races of varying distances each year. I’m sort of competitive when I race. While there’s no way that I’m ever going to win the race or anything even remotely close to that, I do like to beat my previous times. That said, sometimes there are races that aren’t meant to be run for PRs. They are just meant to be run for fun. Have you heard of the newest trend in fun runs? It’s a color run!
From my research, I gathered that the concept of a color run was first introduced by The Color Run™ in January of 2012 and the idea has soared in popularity ever since. The blasts of color feel somewhat like powdered sugar and while they sort of wash off, I wouldn’t suggest wearing your Sunday best while running in one of these. Fortunately, most races provide a white t-shirt for you to wear.
Emory University recently held a color run as part of their Think Pink Week. Proceeds from the race benefitted the Winship Cancer Institution. Participants were encouraged to wear their white Think Pink Week promotional t-shirts and they were doused with pink powder as they crossed the finish line.
Have you ever done a color run? Tell us about it in the comments!
Last weekend, my husband and I went to the Chomp and Stomp Chili Cookoff. If you read our Weekend Guides that we publish on Wednesdays, you might have read about it. In addition to sampling a lot of chili, we walked around looking at the various booths that were set up. Some of the booths were art but others were companies trying to advertise their products. It was at one of these company booths that I received a really cool promotional product and I just had to blog about it.
While the new year often inspires people to hit the gym and make a commitment to a healthier way of life, by the end of July, your motivation to work out might be slightly waning. It happens to the best of us. But one gym, Jazzercise, has found a way to inspire their members to keep coming to the gym all year long. And how are they doing this? By offering an attendance game where the prizes are promotional products.
If you live anywhere on the East Coast, especially the Southeast as we do, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen an influx of pictures of car thermometers on your friends Facebook pages showing the temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. We’ve even put one on our Facebook page here at Pinnacle, though it seems that 102 was not much to brag about compared to other cities.
However, 102 degrees is no joke when you’re outside competing in a 6.2 mile road race and that’s what 60,000 people intend to do this Independence Day as they participate in the Peachtree Road Race, one of the world’s largest 10Ks.
Chances are that you have a Farmers Market near you. According to a 2011 article in the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of farmers markets in the US has increased 16 percent since 2010 and a whopping 214 percent since 2000!
I’ve been working in the promotional products industry for a short time – just shy of five months. But in that time, I’ve really come to notice just how common promotional products are and how they are everywhere!