While the numbers competing in the Auckland Marathon were down significantly this year due to the clash with the Rugby World Cup final, ASB had a foot in both camps as a sponsor of the All Blacks and the event. So it couldn't really lose. And its clever 'Run down Your Rate' campaign was the latest in a series of impressive sponsorship activations from the bank and its agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
As a story in NZ Marketing detailed, effective sponsorship strategy isn't just about bunging logos on hoardings anymore. In some cases, as with Tui's Catch A Million, which was also done in conjunction with Saatchi & Saatchi, it can become an important part of the experience for fans. And the Run Down Your Rate idea, which involved similar RFID technology to previous marathon activations around the world (and the Powerade Challenge), was certainly motivating for the runners involved. In the end, six out of ten runners beat their goal times, with three runners achieving rates of less than three percent and Katie Kemp, winner of the women’s marathon, getting 2.42 percent (and then gifting her rate to someone else). And while there were no doubt a few sore bodies among the runners, no-one died of water intoxication.
Guy Roberts, joint executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, says sponsorships like this, as well as its earlier activations for the All Blacks and the ASB Classic, have been a great way to grow the ASB brand and his desire is to "give fans a reason to walk away thinking ‘this is a brand that really gets it’, which is what Venus Williams said last year, unprompted, after the ASB Classic final" (ASB signed on as overarching sponsor of the men's and women's tournaments after the end of the Heineken Open last year, so we can probably look forward to some more sponsorship hijinks soon).
"What’s also great is when an entire business gets behind a sponsorship – not many companies would actually change their name to announce a sponsorship with the All Blacks. We were definitely lucky with the letters, but ASB still had the courage to embrace it! We’ve happily moved on from just doing the big brand TV pieces – it’s now about many and often, building a brand not with words in one moment but in actions over time, all with a consistent spirit, tone and manner. These days, you’re a glance on a newsfeed, a passing view on a motorway, a share here and a post there. ASB understands that better than most brands."
ASB's general manager of marketing Shane Evans says the "carefully planned mix of innovation, social storytelling and real life events" has led to increased brand love for ASB.
And while it looked like the marathon start point in Devonport was the place to be for communal joy while watching the final, many marathon runners missed out on the second half. So Les Mills attempted to come to the rescue with a couple of special vests worn by runners. Although it's hard to imagine anyone running a marathon would want to watch rugby on a bouncing iPad.
Les Mills, Rugby World Cup 2015 final and the ASB Auckland Marathon - see how we helped make it work!Posted by Les Mills Auckland City on Monday, November 2, 2015