Pan-Mass Challenge looks to boost national profile with Cone hire

Seeking to raise its profile nationally, nonprofit the Pan-Mass Challenge has named Cone Communications AOR.

BOSTON: The Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer care and research, has selected Cone Communications as AOR with the goal of raising the nonprofit’s national profile.

Six agencies competed for the business, but Cone won the work on the strength of its presentation, said Billy Starr, the event’s founder and executive director. It started working on the account on October 1.

"It’s my hope that [Cone] will be able to really connect more with national media for which we strongly believe we’re a national story," he explained.

Cone, which is part of Omnicom Group’s Diversified Agency Services division, will focus on increasing awareness of the Pan-Mass brand through speaking opportunities, influencer engagement, and media outreach. The firm will also work on the organization’s marquee annual ride and other events throughout the year, including kids’ rides.

Starr added that Cone can engage a wide array of media sectors, such a health, cycling, family, and philanthropy, because the Pan-Mass story is interesting to many audiences.

"There are a thousand ways to tell this story, and we’ve been telling it a long time, and I look forward to a new perspective on it," he said.

The organization, which donates 100% of the money raised by each rider to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund, previously worked with Teak Media + Communication since 2002. Starr said the agency did a "very good job" over the years.

Teak president Jackie Herskovitz Russell said the firm had a "terrific" relationship of more than a decade with the organization.

"We’re grateful for the opportunity, and it’s a win-win-win for everybody," she added.

Founded in 1980, Pan-Mass has raised $414 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research in the last 34 years, according to the organization’s website.

At the 35th annual Pan-Mass Challenge this past August, more than 5,500 riders participated in the up to 192-mile event that stretched through 46 Massachusetts towns over two days. The group has not yet announced how much it raised this year; in 2013, it raised $39 million.

The contract with Cone will run for one year. Budget information was not disclosed.

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