South American phone giant Claro added a new element to its ongoing name sponsorship of the Buenos Aires Half Marathon this year with a real time social media app for competitors.
The mobile telecoms operator developed a mobile application for all entrants in this Argentinian race that enabled runners to update their social media accounts, pages and feeds in real time without having to stop running. So runners could share their agonies, ecstasies and progress with their friends and supporters without having to break their stride or stop their racing.
The race, which comes in both 10K and 21K versions, is one to both professional, serious and fun runners. All of them simply needed to go to the official race website and register for the app. They then were sent a radio frequency id tag which they could then place in their shoe or other secure place.
These tags were then tracked by sensors placed through the entire circuit which picked up the data sent from the runners data and then updated their own Twitter feeds and Facebook pages with statistics such as average speed, distance covered, time and projected finishing time and calories burned.
The tags also enabled two-way data flow and communication as runners could use their tags at official rest points and feeding stations to view personal messages of support from friends and family.
Claro, which was launched in Argentina, Paraguay and Urugua in march 2008 when it rebranded from its previous name of CTI Movil, is developing a reputation for innovative sponsorship activation and experimentation with its rights. This strategy is supporting the telecoms brand’s expanding sports sponsorship portfolio and has existing deals in sports such as cycling, football and tennis among other sports
This is obviously a useful device, accessible to all and easy to use by runners of all abilities. Banners and billboards might generate TV-related eyeballs at events such as these, but for the participants and their friends these kind of engagements seem likely to build stronger relationships between brand and consumer.
These days such tracking devices are increasingly common in marathons and running races. For instance adidas created a similar marathon tracker which it has rolled out at major world events such as The Virgin London Marathon.