Bank of America is launching its first-ever digital fund-raising program for its namesake Chicago Marathon.
The program and ads launch this month online in print and outdoor to celebrate the 32nd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11. Approximately 8,000 participants who are registered in the marathon are raising money for 123 charities. The marathon estimates these runners will collectively raise $10 million this fall for local, national and global causes. Bank of America first sponsored the marathon in 2008, following its completed acquisition of LaSalle Bank.
Fans are invited to customize a digital running shoe tread with a personal image and tailored message at chicagomarathon.com/footprint or facebook.com/ChicagoMarathon. Both Web sites include videos, training tips from elite runners and the latest Bank of America Chicago Marathon news.
For each submission, Bank of America will donate $1 to the designer's choice of one of 22 charities, up to a maximum total contribution of $50,000. The completed digital footprints will be viewable on the event site's home page. On race day, the final results of the fund-raising effort will be announced and an additional $10,000 will be awarded by Bank of America to the charity that receives the most submissions on its behalf.
The campaign efforts extend beyond Chicago, says Bank of America spokesman Joseph L. Goode. "Our media buy includes some national and international running publications, as well as a significant Chicago-based radio buy," Goode tells Marketing Daily. "The digital fund-raising component of our campaign, of course, is national in scope."
An ad campaign from BBDO New York features real athletes and spectators, ranging from elite, world-class racers to a mother who spends her days chasing triplets. It illustrates the theme that every participant and spectator who attends on race day directly contributes to the impact that the race leaves behind.
Seven participants from this year's event are featured in the campaign, including Steven Baskis (Forest Park, Ill.), a U.S. Army infantryman who lost his vision in combat last year in Iraq; Kurt Fearnley (Australia), who will challenge the Paralympic record books as he defends his 2007 and 2008 Chicago titles; and Sammy Wanjiru (Kenya), the 22-year-old 2008 Beijing Olympic Games gold medalist who will continue his quest to lower his personal best of 2:05:10.
Print ads and outdoor elements featuring the participants will appear in the Chicago market during the month of September and early October. Chicagoans can see the ad campaign in larger-than-life proportions on the mural wall along the Kennedy Expressway at North Avenue. The creative illustration depicts participants and spectators in overlapping colorful Nike shoe treads.
In addition to the marathon, as a coast-to-coast national franchise, Bank of America supports a variety of sports sponsorships, Goode said. "We are the official bank of Major League Baseball and 10 MLB Clubs, the official bank of the NFL and four NFL teams, the official bank of NASCAR, and the title sponsor of the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway."