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Beat the Sun: Together We Race

The longest day of the year, the tallest mountain in the Alps, and a group of dedicated runners, all determined to complete one of nature’s most challenging courses — and all before sunset. This is the ASICS Beat the Sun race, and as 2016 marked the third year of the event, ASICS wanted to make it BIG. So they tapped Red Door to help strategize a way to generate more hype around the race, and to get the global community more involved in the months leading up to it. 

Overview:

Beat the Sun (BTS) 2016 was divided into two parts: 1) the live race around Mont Blanc, featuring eight teams of both professional and amateur runners from around the world; and 2) a “virtual race” encouraging individuals to commit to their own personal fitness challenge and attempt to beat it on June 21, the same day as the live race.

Our overall objective was to develop a strategy that would establish Beat the Sun as an international, best-in-class, highly anticipated ASICS owned event. To achieve this, we executed a robust cross-channel campaign, leading all traffic back to an event landing page, with UX, design, and content provided by Red Door.
In addition, we worked with ASICS trainers to create a rigorous 16-week training program for all event participants, and coordinated the production of training videos to be hosted on the Beat the Sun landing page. Finally, Red Door sent a ground team to the live event, tweeting the race in real-time, posting to the ASICS social media channels globally, and generating maximum buzz around #beatthesun. As a result, we not only increased our KPIs substantially over past ASICS events, but also helped the brand engage with audiences on a worldwide stage like never before.

       

Goals & Objectives:

  • Bring international awareness to the event
  • Increase total amateur athlete entries globally year-over-year 
  • Create a landing page that has an entry focused call to action
  • Foster global sign ups to achieve a personal fitness goal 
  • Motivate users to join the #beatthesun conversation

Approach/ Strategy:

1: AWARENESS & SIGN UPS
Introduce Beat the Sun and unveil the challenge.

  • Introduce the concept of the “virtual race” as a commitment to reach a personal fitness goal​.
  • Generate excitement around registration for the live race and the chance for runners to “win” a place on their region’s team​.
  • Promote awareness on social media through video and influencer content.
  • Support runners by providing training resources for the virtual race and the BTS live race.
  • Encourage virtual race participants to sign up and share their goal with their community.
  • Capture submissions for the live race.
  • Release the Beat the Sun Training Program to assist the community on their journey.

 2: VOTING & FINALIST SELECTION

Generate excitement around the finalist selection period while checking in on the progress of the community as they work toward their goal.

  • Select and announce 50 participants for the chance to take part in the live event.
  • Share and promote candidates’ stories on social media.
  • Encourage voting for candidates throughout various regions.
  • Announce the final 24 runners for the live BTS race.
  • Show the parallel paths of the athlete and the amateur on their training journey.
  • Continue to encourage virtual race signups with incentive packages.
  • Showcase how and why BTS athletes are training for the event.

 3: RACE DAY

Fuse together the live event and virtual race into one cohesive story that the community can engage with. 

  • Track athletes’ performance and course location in the live race on BTS landing page.
  • Track community performance in the virtual race from around the world.
  • Capture Facebook Live mini stories throughout the race.
  • Promote the larger, overall story on ASICS Europe channels.

Result Percentages:

Due to the story build-up in the months leading up to June 21, as well as more global participation and the introduction of a “virtual race” concept, Beat the Sun 2016 saw a 2,005% increase in video views over last year, 996% increase in hashtag mentions, and over 73 million hashtag impressions. 

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