Every year when the B.A.A. Boston Marathon occurs, it put’s Boston-based New Balance in an awkward position. Even though they’re located in Brighton, MA, just a mile or two from the Boston Marathon course, they are not the official sponsor of the race. That title belongs to Adidas, who benefits by selling official merchandise to tens of thousands of runners.
While New Balance isn’t allowed to use the B.A.A. Boston Marathon name or logo on its clothing or marketing, for years it has tried to become involved with the race, or at least its runners. Each of the past three winters, New Balance has paid for the the Charles River bike paths and sidewalks to be plowed so runners could train in the park. They’ve also put together marketing campaigns (like this one) to reach Boston Marathon runners though motivational ads.
New Balance also created a Boston 2012 page on its website, which has unofficial Boston Marathon products for sale and an insider’s guide for the race. And get this – they’re opening a brand new retail store in Copley Square (right next to the finish line of the Marathon) on April 13, which is the day the Boston Marathon expo begins, and just three days before the race.
Clearly, New Balance is doing everything it can to be part of the Boston Marathon runner’s experience, while not being able to name the race. What do you think of their marketing strategy around the Boston Marathon?