Simplyhealth’s partnership with Great Run Company is right up there with the most seamless of all sports sponsorships. The link has been forged between people who value their health and, who are at the same time motivated to try and stay healthy. And the events themselves, include a jewel in the crown of running, The Great North Run, billed as the largest half marathon globally. The Great Run Company is ably steered by event visionary Brendan Foster. He has set up an event series that knows how to please and has a full national reach, a strong reputation for experience and joyfulness, and a high percentage of affluent participants.
Whilst the headline sponsorship has surely been working well since its 2017 inception, the Company added further event support in 2018 in the shape of Special K sponsorship.
For Special K, this series works hard for the brand. The events themselves are the experience so the brand can step lightly at the events creating photo moments with people who are already dressed up for the photo, or already on an emotional journey. So, the key is to get the sampling right, make each connection swift yet memorable and to choose an agency that can connect with runners as runners and runners as shoppers.
The association is now in its second year. In 2018 Nicky Homes, Commercial Director for The Great Run Company said: “We’re delighted to welcome Kellogg’s on board. We’re sure these products will appeal to nutrition conscious runners and enhance their race day experience.”, whilst Sarah McFall, then Brand Manager for Special K said: “We are thrilled to partner with the Great Run Company, the brand behind such iconic events across the UK. It’s a great opportunity for our products to be enjoyed on race days.”
To borrow from Nicky Homes’ sentiment, it is crucial for any brand wanting to get into running, to enhance the race day experience. As a runner I see many easily discarded goody bags that add little to the race day experience and quite a bit of half-hearted product handout.
Kellogg’s sampling partner Link Communication has been working with Special K at the Great Run series throughout 2019. The agency is one that is both staff and accountability focused – a two-year winning agency at my FMBE Awards in our Retail Experiences category, and both times with FMCG sampling activity.
The agency can be trusted to make the sampling work on behalf of the brand whilst remaining sympathetic to the core event and the mood of its participants.
That looks easy to do here, with a simple pose on a podium plan that allows the event itself to provide the experience and Special K to spread the social fun, but a core agency advantage here is staff competency, as the Link team won’t let the occasion drift or slacken at any stage.
Photos from the activity through this year’s series show consistency, quality communications and above all a full embrace of the event spirit. Using this platform, Special K has been able to place itself as healthy, energetic and fun rather than just healthy and useful.