Asics gives marathoners some digital cheer

Things get interesting when digital technology meets real life. That was the secret behind Wieden + Kennedy's Nike Chalkbot initiative at the Tour de France, the Coca-Cola real-life Facebook Likes campaign in Israel and Conan O'Brien's Foursquare-enabled blimp. Asics and agency Vitro took a page from the digital/real-life playbook with a program for the New York City Marathon. The running shoe brand's "Support Your Marathoner" campaign collected cheers from friends and loved ones in the form of text, photos and video. It then set up three large screens around the course to project the messages to runners as they passed—their whereabouts tracked by the chip that all runners wear on their shoes to record their time and place. About 5,000 messages, including 2,500 video clips, were projected, no doubt to the delight of exhausted runners. One note on the subject of marathons: As a runner, I've wondered why a brand doesn't sponsor a simple tool that would send a runner's time at certain parts of the course to their Facebook and Twitter followers. It seems pretty easy to do because the chip is collecting the data. The brand could add its hashtag to get some credit.

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