Buick Puts On Running Shoes With MapMyFitness

If you buy a compact car or compact crossover, for that matter, there's a good bet you are into running. Or, if your meniscus is shot and your disks are as hard as poker chips, maybe swimming or cycling. In any case, you're probably an active-lifestyle type. 

Buick is hoping to raise awareness of its own compact sedan, Verano, by going after the (younger) active folks who still have good knees. The automaker is partnering with UnderArmour's connected fitness company MapMyFitness for a new physical/
digital community-centric campaign, "Runs Worth the Drive." 

Buick, the first automaker to partner with MapMyFitness, says the deal makes sense because the app has broad usage -- MapMyFitness says its platforms were used 500 million times in the U.S. last year, with 71% of users saying they drove to a specific location to start their workouts. Also, per Buick, the top compact car markets (New York, L.A., San Francisco and Chicago) are also the top running markets.



Sandra Moore, Buick marketing director, tells Marketing Daily that the company started mulling ways of honing in on new audiences partly because Verano, at two-and-a-half years young, is now actually the oldest vehicle in the GM division's lineup. It has, to extend the metaphor, hit the 21-mile wall and needs demographic glycogen. "We started thinking about new ground we could find," she says. "So we did some digging and realized that the Verano buyers are avid fitness folks.

Also, one of our brand pillars is community, and about 70% of people who are runners run in groups.” And, she says, a significant number of runners drive their cars to get to their trails. “A lot of them leave their ZIP codes.” She adds that the customized program was easy to do because the MapMyFitness team regularly puts out challenges around miles and points to keep people motivated. 

The effort, which launches June 26 (though people started signing up on Monday) asks participants to log five miles of running per week for six weeks on their MapMyFitness app. The competition will be tracked on a virtual leaderboard on, where progress will be measured in real-time and weekly prizes will be awarded. Runs of at least five minutes will be logged automatically into a participant’s profile and count toward the ultimate goal of running 30 miles in six weeks.

Participants who accomplish that goal will be entered into the grand prize drawing for an all-expense paid trip to the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in Phoenix. 

Moore says that since launch on Monday, 34,000 people have registered. As for performance indicators, she says it's really an upper-funnel initiative, and the focus is on engagement. "We are trying to associate with a group of people we really haven't spoken to yet. We know that it’s an even split, male and female, and about half are coming from outside the brand and GM. So a lot are going to be conquest consumers.” And, she says, the top running markets also happen to be top Verano markets, "so there is an energy and affinity already in place."

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