This Sunday, Nokia was a sponsor of this race called the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which took place in London. In order to get the bang for their buck, they paid runners to get dressed up in animal mascot costumes--there was a rabbit, a fox, a squirrel and badger.
They then encouraged the more than 30,000 spectators to stop by Nokia stations around the course to pick up a spotters booklet. Any one who wanted to participate needed to jot down the number on the vest of the animals and bring completed entries back to Nokia to be eligible for a grand prize drawing with the winner getting a vacation in Nokia's luxury log cabin in Finland.
It was a great promotion in that it made Nokia more relevant than any other sponsor of the event. The reason I even found out about this is because my producer Tom Rotunno found an article in the Sun in England. The rabbit, believe it or not, had won the race, beating more than 12,000 other non-costumed runners.
Turns out Nokia wanted to make an even bigger splash. So they didn't just give the rabbit costume to a good runner. They paid a world class runner--John Muriithi Mwaniki--to wear it. Mwaniki trains with Olympic gold medalist Samuel Wansiru and he had a personal best of 1:03:44 for the half.
On the winner's podium, Muriithi did one better. In one hand, he held his rabbit head. Then he was presented with carrots. The carrots of course had a big tag on it from another race sponsor, Brakes, a food service company.
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