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New Balance’s challenging Boston Marathon Marketing campaign

#WHATELSE Travel Rishi Sen • March 6, 2017
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Since 2009, whenever the Boston Marathon takes place, it places Boston-based shoemaker, New Balance (NB) in a really awkward position. You wonder why!

Because Adidas is the title sponsor of the Boston Marathon. That’s why!

To counter Adidas’s sponsor tag, the local shoe company plastered streets and transit stations with a new marketing campaign timed to the marathon. In 2015, NB’s campaign, “Nobody Runs Like Boston” played off the city’s running heritage and culture. While New Balance wasn’t allowed to use the B.A.A Boston Marathon name or logo on its clothing or marketing, for years it has tried to become involved with the race, or at least its runners.

NB created ads featuring the taglines such as “Only Boston Makes You Train With Three feet” alluding to the historic snowfall during the 2015 winter, “Only in Boston Do A Million People Take The Day Off So 30,000 Can Work” and “Only Boston’s Doubleheader Includes A Marathon” making light of Marathon Monday’s holiday status.

NB also payed for strategic points across the city to be plowed so runners could train.




NB’s social media campaign encouraged consumers to share why they think Boston is an iconic running city using the hashtag #OnlyBoston.

New Balance also launched its out-of-home Boston takeover with exterior backlit bus shelter wraps, in-race media including light pole banners, MBTA-station dominations and race barricades. For the next year, the New Balance campaign featured at the Prudential Center through multiple interior wall scapes, an exterior banner and staircase advertisements that draw attention to the tough and dedicated runners who flock to Boston’s streets every year.


Visitors to the New Balance booth at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo could customize their purchases and print out support signs for their friends and family to cheer them on as they ran the streets of Boston.

New Balance branded initiatives with Boston-based brands the Lenox Hotel, Boloco, Thinking Cup, Harpoon Brewery and Roxy’s Grilled Cheese help round out the campaign. Leading up to the launch of this campaign New Balance also worked with specialty retailer, Marathon Sports for the “Last Long Run” in late March where they provided one-way transportation to Route 135 in Ashland while offering bag check and fuel along the route to Boylston Street.


Jeff McAdams, Head of Marketing for Running said, “We developed this campaign to highlight the unique running heritage in Boston.”

This campaign was developed by Nail Communications of Providence, RI.

You need to bear some metal nuggets to go all out for an event which you aren’t even directly affiliated with.

You can read about the entire strategy, approach and coverage here.



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