Monday, October 13, 2008

Celebrate the Rhythm of Mumbai Marathon

On of the last speakers at the Asia Brand Congress was Anil Singh, managing director, Procam International (the sports and leisure management company), who presented the case of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon -- a first of its kind initiative in the city, started some two years ago.

“The chief problem was to instill a passion for running in society. Running wasn’t a culture in Mumbai at all back then,” Singh said.

Marathons are traditionally a showcase of a city’s character, but it is never easy to get a city to respond. Procam and Standard Chartered found an opportunity in the resilient and tenacious spirit of the Mumbaikars and decided to go ahead with the idea. The next question that arose was to get advertisers to put their monies behind such a movement.

“We positioned it as a dream run for people who don’t run in regular life,” Singh said, by introducing half-marathons, the senior citizens’ run, the wheelchair run, etc. The entire model was similar to that of the London Marathon, and charity – running for a cause – became an important motivator. The campaign was supported by on-ground activities, press, outdoor and television (the Celebrate the Rhythm of Mumbai commercials, featuring people tapping their feet with restless energy at every point in their lives). “The event became inclusive, garnering huge response and led to the creation of word of mouth around it,” Singh concluded.

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