Benjamin Li
May 26, 2014

New Balance sponsors ‘Colour Run’ in Asia

ASIA-PACIFIC - Reaching out to a growing population of 'social runners', New Balance has signed on as a regional sponsor of the Colour Run—an event where runners get splashed with bright colours as they run a 5-km race.

New Balance sponsors ‘Colour Run’ in Asia

Greg Hooton, event director with IMG Worldwide, which has the APAC licence for the event, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the event started in the US and has become an international phenomenon. "It is social-media and Facebook-driven, which appeals to the youth market," he said. The event is seemingly inspired by India's Holi festival.

New Balance is the "presenting sponsor" for the events this year in China (Shenzhen, Chonqing, Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai and Guangzhou), South Korea and Japan, and the official footwear and apparel sponsor for the events in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.  

Local brands will have opportunities to take part in each market, Hooton added. “We are keen to reach out to any brands who are interested in connecting with the youth market," he said, mentioning phone, camera, and sports brands as possible partners.

Bobo Fong, Asia-Pacific brand communications manager with New Balance, said the brand saw the event, also known as 'the happiest 5k", as a fun platform to reach a new but important customer base. Like many shoe brands, New Balance has long focused on professional and hard-core runners, she said. But its trend is shifting more to ‘metropolitan runners’, who see running not only as a healthy pursuit but also as part of their social life.

The event fits into New Balance's global ‘runnovation’ marketing platform, which aims to promote running as a social activity as well as a training regimen. For example, near New Balance’s global headquarters in Boston, the brand has hosted races up and down the staircases of the Harvard University sports stadium.

Unlike more serious races, the Colour Run is open to both kids and adults, has no time limit and will not have a winner, she added.

Participants, wearing white T-shirts and shoes, come to colour stations every kilometre, where volunteers splash them with paints that are made from cornstarch and can be easily cleaned away with white vinegar.

Because all runners have their own reasons for running, New Balance provides them with a ‘Runnovation pack’ and the opportunity to make a special T-shirt with a personal motto that will only appear when the shirt is covered in colour during the run.

Participants can also create a virtual motto that will be showcased in stores and shared through social media.

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