Flora, sponsor of next year’s London Marathon, has hired Hill & Knowlton
to handle a pounds 250,000 PR campaign in a bid to spread coverage of
the race beyond the sporting media.
H&K landed the six-month campaign against competition from two agencies:
Burson-Marsteller, Flora’s PR agency of 25 years, and Clarion
Communications. Clarion was responsible for launching Flora’s pounds 6
million three-year sponsorship of the event last August.
The aim of the campaign, understood to carry a six figure fee, is to
maximise the profile of the race alongside TV and radio advertising and
Flora’s last major sponsorship event, Aerobathon 94, handled by Mark
Borkowski, Clarion and Burson-Marsteller, collapsed when a fraction of
the expected 100,000 participants turned up.
H&K account director Marie Louise Windeler said the agency’s brief was
to ‘rejuvenate the race by bringing it to the masses’.
It plans to promote involvement in the marathon at every level by
encouraging the public to either sponsor a runner, watch the race on TV
or enter the marathon themselves.
Flora has also appointed sports specialist PDPR, headed by Penny Dain to
focus on the sporting media.
Senior brand manager for Flora David Blanchard explained the thinking
behind H&K’s appointment: ‘To maximise Flora’s profile we needed to
have a combination of consumer and sports PR knowledge. Flora is a big
brand and requires we work with big agencies,’ he said.
A team of nine at Burson-Marsteller will continue to handle the Flora
Project for Heart Disease Prevention. Blanchard added that H&K’s
appointment ‘in no way affects that part of the business’.
London Marathon’s press enquiries will be fielded by an in-house
department, headed by Tom Knight, which will operate from January until
after the race in April.