A venerable financial institution in Boston decided it was time to dust off its dated image and breathe new life into its brand. And what better way, it was thought, than to team up with a prestigious sporting event that appealed to a contemporary audience?
The event would have to incorporate brand-building elements, on-site visibility, television broadcasting rights, as well as generate revenue by selling ad time. A tall order that came with something of a hitch. The company CEO was adamant he would not work with the leading sports-marketing firm.
Here entered T1 Media talent.
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After some research, it was determined that the perspective consumer was the general public, males and females of all ages. This sponsorship had to reach a mass audience with a diverse profile, young, older, kids, students, American and foreign. But the marketing and media budget was tight.
The media mix was also considered. There needed to be local TV broadcasts, ESPN and other outlets on a national level, as well as international coverage. The TV sponsorship had to be “married” to the on-site exposure and benefits to drive a full brand-immersion experience.
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The Boston Marathon was the sporting event chosen as having the right fit. ProServ was the chosen sports partner based on prior experience with the firm. While ProServ was rooted in tennis, they had the infrastructure and capabilities to execute and manage what was needed, both domestically and internationally. Logistically, there were many political stakeholders that had to agree on the concept: the Boston Athletic Association Board of Governors (BAA), the three local TV stations and the major national cable networks.
Complicating matters was money. The international television rights had to be profitable for the company and the BAA. Plus the prize money had to be substantially increased to attract more elite runners.
On-site and TV exposure proved easy to obtain. Fortuitously, the financial institution’s corporate headquarters was located at the marathon finish line where cameras were aimed. This meant optimal “branding” visibility locally, nationally and internationally. In addition, the company sponsored the local and national TV coverage via a trade for programming, as they now controlled the rights along with the BAA and the local stations needed this programming. The increased prize money attracted the best global talent of any race in the world, which drove the PR machine, ratings and the company visibility.
Unquestionably, the company, which was praised for raising the international profile of the Boston Marathon to a whole new level. And the marathon, which became “the” prestige running event drawing the world’s top elite marathons runners.