have taken sports and special events by storm, from opening billboards
and television halftime reports to ubiquitous signage exposure and on-site
promotions. Through promotional giveaways at entrance gates, to exhibit
booths sampling products and contests featuring special prizesif
there is space available for a corporate logo, there is a good chance
that a brand has thought about using it. Ideally, Brands are always
looking for ways to go above and beyond traditional means of exposure,
and entertainment at events is one strategic way to achieve that goal.
When it comes to entertainment at an event, particularly one in which
a key sponsor is presenting the featured program, there is always the
challenge of effectively communicating a brands message while
simultaneously providing high quality entertainment to the target audience.
This is especially true if the sponsor is ultimately responsible for
an overall theme or production plan, it is imperative to first understand
everything about the eventwhat has been successful in the past,
what has not worked, what resources you have available (budget, size
of stage, equipment, time slot), who you will be communicating to and
the overall environment. Also, it is equally important to understand
the brands objective. In this case, PowerBar wanted to reach a
target audience of serious athletes who were users or potential users
of their products. PowerBar wanted their audience to walk away from
this event with a heightened awareness of PowerBars active involvement
with the race.
Fortunately, PowerBar had been a sponsor of the Main Entertainment Stage for two years, so they had a very clear vision of what they wanted, which made the producer's job that much easier (assuming of course that producer and sponsor agreed on the vision.)
PowerBar did not
want to simply put entertainers on a stage to "perform." Rather,
they wanted their core "active-minded" consumers to be able
to identify with and "participate" in the entertainment.
Based upon the goals of PowerBar, and equipped with the background information on the event and the resources, the next step was to develop a themed, conceptual production that would meet the goals of the client and provide entertainment value to the runners. Throughout the creative process, it was important to remember that for many of the runners the NYC Marathon could be their first marathon, and/or possibly the biggest running race of their life. Runners take their sport seriously, and with the entertainment stage programmed for three hours prior to the start of the race, the content needed to complement their race day preparations, not serve as a distraction.
The key programming
elements included the following:
- An improvisational
troupe called Minimum Wage provided humorous musical skits specifically
geared toward the marathon themesrunning, training, proper nutrition,
marathon history and hydration.
The live music, performance
artists and multi-lingual race announcements combined to provide a well-balanced
presentation that met the objectives of both PowerBar and the race.
And of course it would not have been a sponsored event without the entertainers
being decked out in PowerBar gear and announcements throughout the script
telling the runners about the PowerGel station at mile 18 of the marathon.
4. Planning and
- Development and
final sign-off on event theme by the client.
Dan Mannix is President & CEO of LeadDog Marketing Group, a sports/event marketing, production and promotions company based in New York City. LeadDog Marketing Group produced the PowerBar Main Entertainment Stage at the 2000 New York Marathon.