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Asics Gets Interactive for New York City Marathon

The company has transformed the Columbus Circle subway station — which is near the finish line in Central Park — into a “marathon experience.”

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Asics has embraced a multimedia approach with a multitude of interactive elements to promote the ING New York City Marathon this year.

The company, which has been the apparel and footwear sponsor of the race for the 15th consecutive year, has transformed the Columbus Circle subway station — which is near the finish line in Central Park — into a “marathon experience.” According to Shannon Scott, director of marketing for Asics America, there are 600 linear feet of displays — the size of two football fields — and 20 installations within the station designed to “excite people of the city who commute and act as a memorial for runners.”

For the first time this year, Asics partnered with electro-funk duo Chromeo to create a special marathon-themed track that includes everything from a police siren and a cowbell to a cheering section, Scott said. The track will be available free on iTunes starting Tuesday to the first 2,620 people, and Asics will make a donation of $2,620 to a children’s charity in New York City.

In the subway station, a sound room has been installed that allows users to trigger various sounds of the race through 40 motion-actived buttons. There’s also a display with a “shadow runner” that will be activated by people walking by, as well as marathon-inspired artwork, including a mural with the names of all 47,000 registered runners.

The installation will remain in the station until Nov. 19.

Asics has also created a special edition of its Gel-Kayano 19 running shoe for the race with a liner that shows the race course. The shoe, which features a purple and yellow color scheme, ties into the company’s special marathon-themed apparel, which ranges from base layers, T-shirts and shorts to jackets. “We’re prepared to get everyone through the race whether there’s snow, sleet or if it’s hot,” Scott said.

The 43rd edition of the race to be run on Nov. 4 will draw an estimated 47,000 runners and two million spectators. It’s also the largest race Asics sponsors. “This is our Super Bowl,” Scott said. The company also just signed on to sponsor the Los Angeles Marathon in March and is involved with the Pittsburgh and Big Sur, Calif., races.