October 21st, 2008

ING NYC Marathon Sponsor Field Grows, Adds Contests

By Richard Tedesco
PROMO Magazine

The field of sponsors for the New York City Marathon is growing this year with two brand contests in place for the run-up to the annual endurance race on Nov. 2.

A total of 31 sponsors will fill various product categories, with Widex, Timex, Emerald Nuts and Food Emporium new additions to the field. Widex is the official hearing aid sponsor; Timex is official timer; Emerald Nuts is official snackfood, and Food Emporium is official gourmet food chain sponsor, which carries several of the race’s food and beverage brands. Its stores will also display the “What Does It Take?” posters that convey this year’s race theme.

“It’s important to us to increase the awareness and the relevancy to a broader base of people,” said Ann Crandall, senior vice president of business development for the New York City Road Runners Club, which organizes the marathon.

Other sponsors are planning lots of promotions.

Asics is running a “Tell Your Heart Story” campaign, encouraging runners of all stripes to record and upload stories about what it takes to run a race on the Asics Web site. The best stories will be edited into a TV spot that will run during live coverage of the NYC marathon on WNBC-TV.

Toyota has a “Pick and Drive” sweepstakes, offering contestants a chance to win a Toyota Prius if they can correctly pick the top three finishers among the men and women runners in this year’s race. Now through Nov. 1, people can register their choices online, where they can also see background information about the top-rated runners on trading card-styled bios.

A host of other activations will be taking place on race day and during the run-up to the race. Title sponsor ING will give out orange pom-poms for cheering on the runners and other branded giveaways to spectators at two cheering sections it sets up in Brooklyn and Queens Counties along the race route.

Soccer athlete Brandi Chastain and gymnast Kerri Strug are running the race for ING to draw contributions to the New York Road Runners Foundation in support of school running programs. Each person who donates at least $10 to the cause will receive a pair of orange running shoe laces like the ones those athletes will be sporting.

Pasta maker Barilla will sponsor the traditional Marathon Eve pasta feast at Tavern on the Green. It is also sponsoring the Barilla Dining Tour, with marathon dinner specials promoted at 15 New York City restaurants. One dollar from each meal purchased will go to support New York City food banks.

Coors Light, the official beer sponsor, will hold Marathon parties at 95 locations around the city throughout race week, giving away branded Marathon T-shirts and posters.

Continental Airlines will be giving out 18,000 race cards to engage spectators with information about the race and the high profile participants. The cards will carry scratch-off sections that give prizes for products of several of the other race sponsors.

Dunkin’ Donuts will provide free coffee for the runners, as it has for the past two years. At 10 Dunkin’ Donuts along the race route, fans will be able to pick up free cheer sticks and rally pom-poms.

A free three-day health and fitness expo precedes race day at the Javits Convention Center. A Marathon Monday event in Central Park will sell marathon memorabilia, including official race pins. 

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