An Event Steeped in History
In 2016 I had the honor of completing the Boston Marathon. It was an experience I won’t ever forget and I truly learned why Marathon Monday is a special date for Bostonians since it was first run in 1897. Its symbolism of strength, hope, courage, and endurance has resonated with people across generations and decades.
The site of runners starting their journey in Hopkinton and finishing across Boylston Street 26.2 miles later is one that brings the whole city together and is a celebration that many people come from all over to see.
I won’t ever forget seeing the crowds of people cheering everyone on and coming out in droves to watch the race.
While other cities (e.g. Chicago, London, and Tokyo) are home to World Marathon Majors like Boston, the Boston Marathon has distinguished itself by becoming a global brand in and of itself. The words “Marathon Monday” instantly harken back to the city of Boston and its people.
The reason for this is simply because it is the oldest continuously run marathon in the world. It has so much rich history attached to it that many local and international companies need to get in on the fun.
From Dana-Farber to Adidas, the number of corporations far and wide that ingrain the Boston Marathon into their brand identity is impressive. The reason behind this is a simple one: the spirit of the Boston Marathon aligns with something core to the brand values of the companies that sponsor the marathon.
On the sponsors page of the Boston Marathon website, Dana-Farber’s description reads: “Dana-Farber Cancer Institute provides expert, compassionate care to children and adults and is home to groundbreaking cancer discoveries.”
In addition to sponsoring the marathon, Dana-Farber leads a charity team that runs the race each year. Their brand promise and commitment to leading a charity team speak directly to the core values of the Boston Marathon.
Endurance, perseverance, and compassion all come to mind when thinking of those who run the marathon. Through their charity programs and drive to search for a cure, Dana-Farber personifies these values directly. They speak to the core of their brand identity and make them a perfect sponsor for the marathon.
But while Dana-Farber represents a local brand, Adidas represents an international corporation taking part in the Boston Marathon.
As the official sponsor of the race, Adidas puts out official race shoes, apparel, and jackets.
Contrasting Dana-Farber’s brand promise, Adidas’ reads: “The adidas Group strives to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry with brands built on a passion for sports and sporting lifestyle.”
By sponsoring the Boston Marathon (as well as providing official apparel) Adidas is very much fulfilling this brand promise and extending it not just to soccer, football, and basketball, but running as well.
Both Adidas and Dana-Farber are vastly different organizations with very different scopes, but both have similar reasons for joining the Boston Marathon as sponsors. Their core brand identities and values align with those of the Boston Marathon and they help push it forward every Patriots’ Day in Boston.
— Ryan Kelley, Brand Strategy Account Coordinator