For title sponsor ING; principal sponsors including Asics, Continental Airlines, Foot Locker, The New York Times and Timex; and such signature and supporting sponsors as Coors Light, Dunkin' Donuts, Emerald Nuts, Gatorade, Nissan, Poland Spring, PowerBar, Subway, Tiffany and UPS, it is not just launching a marathon marketing campaign, but actually being part of the marathon nation.
Ultimately, the success of the collaboration between a brand and publisher -- and the effectiveness of any sponsorship -- is measured on multiple levels, but none more important than whether brand equity increases in the minds of a publisher's audience.
While no doubt there is and will remain a certain market of women who will still respond to that strategy, the amount of money marketers are spending on sponsorships and activation warrants a more sophisticated approach.
Our research suggests that with the proliferation of new gadgets and constant upgrades, of instant this and bigger that, the consumer has begun to say "enough," and with that comes a desire for the meaningful versus the superficial; for a sense of belonging to a close knit community of like minded people. For many, sports can fill that space ... as long as we continue to make it accessible and inviting. It's really that simple.