Jerusalem marathon – Case Studies

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Jerusalem marathon - Case Studies


Jerusalem municipality and its mayor, Mr. Nir Barkat, have set a goal to place Jerusalem as one of the major worldwide marathon cities such as Berlin, New York, London, Paris, etc.
The running trend has spread in Israel, in the last few years – Tiberius marathon, Tel-Aviv marathon, Nike run and many more. This trend leads to a growing interest from the media but also sets a media coverage competition between the different runs. One other aspect was the novelty of the Jerusalem marathon – on the one hand causing a lot of interest from the media and on the other hand was full of difficult organizational and media challenges. Yet another aspect was that the older and more known Tel Aviv marathon was two weeks later, which made the challenge ever bigger.

The goals

1. Positioning Jerusalem marathon as the most significant marathon in Israel
2. Using the marathon to leverage Jerusalem as a leading sports and culture city
3. Exposing the marathon to the public to get thousands of runners to participate
4. Positioning the marathon as an international marathon.
5. Branding mayor Barkat as a modern and liberal mayor who promotes sports and gives personal example.
Target audience
1. Professional runners – The first time there is an opportunity to run in Jerusalem
2. Amateur runners – mostly for the shorter runs
3. General audience – leveraging the city’s reputation as a leading sport and culture city
4. Decision makers in sports (government and sponsors) that will increase the support and will make the marathon a tradition

Media strategies

1. Built in Research – We added an option in the registration system for the registrants to tell us about themselves in a few words – this simple solution helped us find unique and touching stories
2. Internationality – To segregate ourselves from the Tel Aviv marathon we put a lot of effort in worldwide press regarding the marathon
3. “Jerusalem Vs. Tel Aviv” –  Because of the proximity of the events, we emphasized the competition between the two marathons to increase media coverage
4. Broad media effort – not to only focus on Jerusalem sport journalists but to concentrate in many different journalists – economical, tourism, sport, Jerusalem, health, magazines and even technology
5. Extraordinary launch – In order to be original, we had a “flying” press conference in which the journalists could see the route from the air
6. Personal stories – To emphasize the diversity of the runners – ages, personal background, etc.
7. Spotlight on mayor Barkat – Jerusalem’s mayor, who initiated the race and planed to participate in it could get a lot of exposure and will be made the presenter of the run

Implementation of the plan

  We made a “flying” press conference that created a very strong launch for the marathon. The many reporters that came were raised in a crane to 50 meters above the track
  We included original ideas, Such as any person who has a Jerusalem themed family name such as “Yerushalmi”, “Zion” – could participate for free
  We emphasized the worldwide runners – a few articles were published in magazines
  We emphasized Nir Barkat running in the marathon. We had him running with his army paratroops friends and had Channel 2 news covering his trainings
  “360 degrees” – We covered the event from every possible angle – medical articles, gadget articles, running fashion, tourism, economical articles, marathon nutrition and more
  We implemented a novel idea of “Jerusalem Beloved runners”  – Authentic Jerusalem figures who helped creating the media exposure
  We broke through with the “Fight against Tel Aviv” – initiating comparison articles with our marathon as the beloved underdog
  We successfully dealt with a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in the week of the marathon
  Real time coverage – working with television crews, broadcasting from the event and live coverage of the run

Summary and results

10,000 runners, 1,500 of them international runners, were the best proof of our success, together with the Jerusalem municipality’s speaker. The Jerusalem marathon, even though it is not the biggest one, got the most media coverage. The implementation of the strategy was almost perfect, when over a few weeks, the marathon was almost completely prominent in the media and was a part of the public agenda. Over 200 items, including cover pages and prime time news items brought satisfaction to our clients (who also hired us in 2012-2014) show the media success. But more than that, we are proud of the fact that we broke boundaries and implemented many original and non-expectant ideas in sport events. The Jerusalem marathon became an established fact and helped the city to position itself as a leading sports and cultural city. The minor goals were also accomplished, which contributed directly to the city and its mayor’s image as leaders in sports and culture.

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