NYC Marathon hook prompts The New York Times to run story on Timex's new trainer

Timex, a well-known maker of timepieces and jewelry, turned to us to generate national awareness for its new training instrument, the Ironman Global Trainer Bodylink System with GPS.

Name

Rob Bronfeld, VP, Catalyst Public Relations (New York)

Placement

The New York Times, October 24, 2010

Pitch timeline

One month

Who is your client and what are its media goals?

Timex, a well-known maker of timepieces and jewelry, turned to us to generate national awareness for its new training instrument, the Ironman Global Trainer Bodylink System with GPS. The goal was to reach beyond distance training enthusiasts to mainstream active consumers.

What made The New York Times ideal for this campaign? How did you pitch its editors?

The Times reaches an affluent local and national demographic, making it an ideal target for us. Timex has partnerships with the New York Giants football team and the ING NYC Marathon. We used those relationships to craft a campaign centered on former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer as he trained to run his first marathon.

With Toomer on board as the hook, we approached the Times' New York Marathon editor Tom Connolly with an offer to observe how the former football player used the Ironman Global Trainer to prepare for the grueling 26-mile run.

Integrating brands with athletes or celebrities can be challenging to execute with traditional editorial. How did you craft your messages to ensure Timex was included in the story in a realistic way?

We put Times reporter Andrew Keh in touch with Toomer's coach, Chris Thomas, a member of Timex's Multisport Team, to talk about marathon preparation and how GPS and other Ironman Global Trainer features helped him monitor and guide Toomer's workouts.

In addition, we had Keh visit Toomer during one of his training sessions and invited him to go to Toomer's blog to track his progress. All information on the product was provided to Keh as well.

What was the hit's impact?

The Sunday New York Times sports section story ran several weeks before the marathon, so we could leverage that to generate additional media interest around the race, which Toomer finished in 4 hours, 13 minutes.

We also secured coverage in The Wall Street Journal and on ESPN, among other outlets. Those combined placements helped spike sales of the Ironman Global Trainer among marathon runners, so Timex was pleased with our program. 

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