Berlin Marathon Finish Line: An Embarrassing Example of Marketing and Marathon

Run a mile at a 4:42 pace.  Do it again.  And another time.  Repeat 23 more times.   That’s what Wilson Kipsang of Kenya did on Sunday, as he set the world record at the Berlin Marathon, with a time of 2:03:23.    With its flat course and cool temperatures, Berlin is known as the site for world record marathon runs, with eight world record times recorded there since 1998.

Now, however, it is also known as an unfortunate example of guerrilla marketing in endurance sports.   Just as Kipsang approached the finish line, a bandit promoting a high-end escort service on his t-shirt jumped out onto the course and broke the tape in front of him.  The rogue runner was apprehended, but he not only ruined Kipsang’s moment of triumph, he obtained for his business immediate, world-wide awareness. The finish line photos of Kipsang are spoiled by this interloper’s misguided and selfish promotion.  The notoriety the culprit has obtained for his business will surely far outweigh the penalty he will have to pay, while Kipsang’s years of dedication have been marred forever by a marketer’s short term, egocentric awareness campaign.

Take a look at the video of the finish.  As both a B2B marketer and an endurance athlete, I’m ashamed.  Some tactics just go too far.  This is one of them.  What do you think?Where’s the border between outlandish and inappropriate?

 

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