EMMAUS, PA: Rodale, the publisher of magazines such as Men's Health and Runner's World has chosen Catalyst Public Relations to lead communications for its annual marketing program conducted with Nissan.
The publisher selected Catalyst for the year-long initiative following an RFP, said Alison Brown, associate director of sports marketing and events at Rodale. Four agencies participated in the review, added Brown, who declined to name the other firms.
Last year, Zocalo Group managed communications for the program and did “great” work in the social space, she added. But for 2012, Rodale wanted more of a balance between traditional and social media efforts.
For the sixth annual “Innovation for Endurance” program, which features Nissan's electric Leaf car and original fitness content from top athletes, Catalyst will work to “drive consumer knowledge and awareness of the program,” said Brown.
She added that Rodale also wants to capture data and drive consumers to the Innovation for Endurance Facebook page, which has nearly 100,000 fans. Another goal is “providing the healthy, active consumer with exclusive content that they couldn't find anywhere else while aligning it with the Nissan brand and the Nissan vehicles.”
One reason why Rodale picked Catalyst is because of the agency's use of athletes and celebrities in its PR programs without spending much time with them, Brown explained.
“Our time with [the athletes] for PR is very limited,” she said, “so I liked the creative thinking that Catalyst had with how we can use the athletes…or coming up with really great, big ideas that could get us a lot of impressions.”
Marathoners Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan and swimmer Ryan Lochte will participate in the initiative.
Catalyst will focus on promoting the program's event component, reaching out to local print and broadcast outlets. The initiative soft-launched in April at the Boston Marathon, and it will also incorporate the New York City Marathon, the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Denver, and the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.
For the New York City Marathon in November, Catalyst will engage national press as well as local media. The firm will also work with Nissan's media agency, OMD, on some initiatives throughout the year.
Rodale will also incorporate Twitter into the program for the first time, Brown said. Other new elements for 2012 include athlete playlists that can be downloaded from iTunes, inspirational Pinterest boards, and activities on Google+. The firm will also make blogger outreach a major component.