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The Strategy Room

Boston Marathon Brand Activations, Crisis Communications and More

By: Hannah Sedgwick

QUICK PR READS YOU CAN TACKLE BETWEEN BITES

Happy Tuesday, Lunch Breakers! Spring weather is just around the corner, and we’re enjoying a time-honored spring tradition — the Boston Marathon. We might not be in the Boston area, but that didn’t stop us from cheering for runners from afar.

This week, we have a Boston Marathon-themed Lunch Break to discuss crisis communications and highlight clever brand activations.

Run on Dunkin’

If an entire city loves Dunkin’ AND running, then combining the two is a recipe for success. This is the second year that Saucony and Dunkin’ have teamed up to develop a Boston-themed shoe for the marathon, and each year the shoes have sold out almost immediately.

Saucony’s campaign is a smart one. The only thing that the people of Boston love more than their beloved Dunkin’ is showing their Boston Strong and Marathon Monday spirit. It’s also a clever tie in to Dunkin’s “America Runs on Dunkin” slogan and comes in a novelty shoe box that looks like a box of donuts.

The only thing that the people of Boston love more than their beloved Dunkin’ is showing their Boston Strong and Marathon Monday spirit. Click To Tweet

Crack Open a 26.2 Brew

About a month prior to Marathon Monday, Boston Beer Company announced its 26.2 Brew, a Boston Marathon themed beer. While beer is a questionable post-run recovery aid, this beer is specifically targeted to runners.

26.2 Brew dominated the social media feeds of runners nationwide, promoting the beer with  running royalty  Meb Keflezighi, the 2014 Boston Marathon champion, and Des Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon champion.They promoted the beer in commercials and during press conferences as well.

It’s unlikely that these Boston Marathon athletes are indulging in a beer during their training cycle, but it does make for a relatable advertising campaign.

Mid-Race PR Crisis

Before the final runner crossed the finish line in Boston, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) already had a PR crisis on its hands. During the awards ceremony for the men’s wheelchair champion, American Daniel Romanchuk, an American flag was spotted crumpled on the floor in the corner of the frame.

Jack Fleming, chief operating officer of the BAA, was quick to issue a professional apology on WBZ’s on-air broadcast and on its social media platforms:

“We are reviewing our Awards protocol to ensure that this does not happen again. The Boston Marathon has been an American tradition for more than a century and we take pride in the passion and determination that participants, spectators, and volunteers from around the world display at our annual event.”

BAA’s Crisis Communications

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the professional and organized response the BAA had to the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013. When the safety and lives of others is on the line, it’s more important than ever to communicate efficiently and clearly.

During the tragedy in 2013, the first responders, city officials and BAA event organizers needed to coordinate perfectly, and make sure a plan was already in place in the event of an emergency.

Learn more from the communications experts who handled the crisis response in 2013.

 




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