National launch of RunTogether
Supporting the ambition to get 1 million people into athletics and running by 2020, England Athletics launched RunTogether in January 2017. The programme of organised running groups and routes was designed to influence and support more adults, particularly women, to establish regular running habits and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits this brings.
To capture the attention of both media and the public, we needed a strong news hook as the launch of running groups in themselves wouldn’t have cut through during the busy ‘New Year New You’ period. We proposed a slightly more controversial news hook, undertaking consumer research with the target audience of female runners to explore running fears and the barriers which stop people running alone. This provided us with the hook to talk about the running groups as a safe and inclusive way to begin running.
Our consumer research highlighted that a third of British women had experienced some form of harassment when out running alone, with over 60% of women feeling anxious when running alone and nearly half stating that it was due to worries around personal safety concerns that they had such fears. The client was concerned about leading with a potentially controversial news angle. We could have conceded and removed this element, but chose to continue to recommend leading with this angle, recognising the need to drive engagement and relevance. We successfully reassured the client to continue with the strong messaging.
The campaign launched on January 10, with a full day of radio and broadcast interviews at two locations to ensure we could service all key media targets. We based one RunTogether ambassador, Sam Mollaghan, with England Athletics’ spokesperson, Jenny O’Brien at Media City, ensuring easy access for the BBC. Meanwhile Dr Alex Rotas (another ambassador) was at the Sky Studios in London, along with Laura Fountain, a running blogger and Run Leader who we had identified as someone who had faced harassment whilst out running.
The campaign was hugely popular, generating 119 items across broadcast, national, health & fitness, consumer, regional and leisure trade titles including BBC Breakfast, Sky Sportswomen, Sky News, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Grazia, Red and Cosmopolitan.
The outcome of this widespread awareness was sign-ups to the RunTogether website which far exceeded the initial target of 6,000. In just 3 months England Athletics confirmed their website had received 24,597 registrations. Promote won 2 CIPR gold awards for this campaign.
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