Londoners Pledge to 'Run a Year'

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Footwear marketer Nike is taking to the Web and e-mail marketing to promote its fifth annual Run London event targeting consumers ages 24-35.


Run London seeks mainly to motivate 45,000 active Londoners to pledge to "run a year" using the "Pledge Maker" on the site at www.runlondon.com. The series of races is styled as Britain's biggest running event.


"Nike is not currently promoting any specific products within the Run London site, but rather aims to educate people about choosing the right product for their needs," said Simon Jefferson, global account director at Nike interactive agency AKQA London.


Run London begins Oct. 16 with the Nike 10K run, one each simultaneously in Battersea, Hyde and Victoria parks. Supervised Nike training runs in nine locations across London help runners prepare for the event and the subsequent 5K timed runs throughout the year.


The runlondon.com site links to the Shoe Selector function on the European site at www.nikerunning.com. This lets runners find the appropriate Nike running shoe for them and showcases the latest running products within their range.


Several elements make the Run London campaign and its online push unique. The Pledge Maker on runlondon.com lets consumers register to run and create a personalized pledge with name and photo to send to friends and kin. Besides this viral component, Nike broadcasts these online pledges via large screens in the main window of the NikeTown shop on London's Oxford Street.


Second, a retailer locator using Google Maps helps consumers find the best running routes to the nearest Nike store to pick up their race gear. The store staff can look up their details at runlondon.com, have the race pack ready and chat with runners about running times and the training program.


Third, runners can visit runlondon.com the day after the Nike 10K run and watch themselves cross the finish line. This is possible because every runner will wear a digital chip in their shoe linked to a video camera that registers when they cross the finish line. The finish line is filmed for the duration of the race.


Also, animations site-wide not only tell a story of running throughout the year, but are tailored to the content of the specific section. AKQA calls this education through entertainment. The site -- themed red and with music accompanying an animated character running past London landmarks -- will stay up for a year, continually updated. The site's home page is headlined, "I will run a year."


E-mails went to an opted-in Nike list of Run London veterans. Personal e-mails of encouragement are being sent to inform runners about the Nike training runs in their neighborhood. On arrival at the training runs, the runners' details are recorded to let them track their training progress and attendance via runlondon.com.


Other marketing supports Run London online, such as poster sites around London and on buses as well as public relations in local newspapers. Wieden + Kennedy London handled outdoor advertising. MindShare was responsible for media planning and buying.


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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