Sunday, May 23, 2010 saw more than 25,000 people from around the world participate and celebrate the 'festival' of running at the Sunfeast World 10K Marathon organised in Bengaluru. The activity had Nike as running partner.
JWT South drafted an elaborate campaign to popularise the activity, while sports and leisure management company Procam International - also behind organising the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and Airtel Delhi Half Marathon events - executed it.
The primary brief to JWT was to ensure that the Sunfeast World 10K Marathon - in its third year now - was positioned differently from the Mumbai and Delhi runs. The first two years of the run saw a positioning that revolved around the energetic thought, 'Run maadi, run!'
This year, the festival revolved around the line, 'Many reasons, one celebration'. Senthil Kumar, executive creative director, JWT South, says, "Essentially, the Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru runs are the three popular runs in this country. As our task was to differentiate the 10K run from the others, we thought of positioning it as a 'festival of running'." This is because in India, historically, festivals are associated with various sports.
According to JWT's observations, great Indian sports have always shared the stage with great Indian festivals, and rural India is ripe with many such festivals, for instance, Pongal and the festival of bull fighting; Ugadi and the festival of cart racing; Onam and the festival of snake boat racing; or Baisakhi and the festival of mud wrestling. Millions of spectators flock to these sporting festivals to watch and cheer.
"We see potential in these spectators as participants, which is how we chanced upon the idea, 'Run, because the world needs no spectators," explains Kumar.
A TVC, shot by Manoj Pillai of Thinkpot Productions, was released a few weeks prior to the activity on television (primarily on music, news and sports channels), which showed boat racing in Kerala, which commences with a gun shot. As the boats raced ahead, slowly one saw bystanders and cheerers - including musicians, common people and metaphorically, birds and animals in the surrounding area - run along the path of the boats, as though participating in a run of their own. 'Celebrate the festival of running' went the super, while the Sunfeast World 10K logo appeared.
"As running is a sport virtually anyone can partake in - it doesn't require specialised skills or monies - we target those on the sidelines in this ad - people who are potential participants, but often lack the will to run," says Kumar. This essentially Indian 'whim' of being a frozen spectator was taken up in the communication, and particularly the youth were targeted as an important segment for this run.
The ad was run not just on national TV, but also in cinema halls across the country, as well as on social networking sites, local cable TV channels and YouTube. Press, radio and outdoor were other media that were leveraged. The Times of India was the print partner while Radio Mirchi and Indiatimes.com were the radio and digital partners for the event, respectively. Mall activation was also done, wherein some of the biggest malls were witness to the reveal of the Sunfeast World 10K Anthem, composed especially for the event.
Contests took place, wherein the best singers of the anthem were rewarded and people were taught to dance and become cheerleaders as a part of the Anthem activity.
Apart from popularising the spirit of celebration, the activity also educated people on the run and invited registrations for the run. Furthermore, corporate activations were undertaken, reveals Niksha Bhide, head, client services, Procam International, to excite corporate professionals to partake in the run. This was done three weeks prior to the activity.
Corporate activations included concepts such as Karaoke singing competitions (on the Anthem), on the spot running contests and registration activities to encourage people to take part in groups.
Canter activities were also undertaken all over Bengaluru, wherein across the city, people were made to run on a treadmill for a minute and if they succeeded, they were to dole out Rs 100, which would be given to a charity cause of their choice. This activity was titled '60 seconds of celebration'.
For the record, Sunfeast, a food brand by ITC that focuses on healthy living and nutrition, found a natural fit in the Marathon three years ago, as both the sport of running as well as the brand focus on good health.