This Sneaker Brand Got People Running by Offering Lovely Dinners Paid for in Miles

#EatYourRun with a pair of Kalenji Elioruns

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Most people don't like running. That's OK. We can't all be masochists, pining to destroy our knees before their time. But to incentivize would-be runners, sneaker brand Kalenji found a motivating carrot on a stick—a lush dinner, paid for in miles.

Organized by Paris agency Rosapark, the #EatYourRun campaign promoted a new collection of Eliorun shoes by sending spankin' new pairs to journalists (including me) and inviting us to hit the dirt. A few weeks later, on May 24, they organized a dinner at the 6 Paul Bert restaurant—known for its epic gastronomy—at which we could exchange our clocked miles (well, kilometers, since this is France) for ultra-fancy food.

"For most sports brands, running is all about performance," begins the case study below. "For Kalenji, running is all about pleasure." Backed by classical music, the video wordlessly illustrates the campaign—and the delights awaiting in exchange for your physical toils—then concludes with the tagline, "Don't live to run. Run to live." 

Below is an image of the shoes we got. Guess they ran out of the cute red ones, but that's OK; real runners burn through shoes in three months anyway:

And here's a closeup of the menu:

It's pretty French to associate physical activity with a pleasurable payoff; in the U.S., it's considered more an act of productivity, which is payoff in itself (but a far poorer carrot, in our view). In addition to getting vocal people to try the shoes (serviceably good, but we're flat-footed, so…), the goals weren't terribly punitive: To order the most "expensive" meal, a runner had to clock just over 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), roughly what I run in a two-week average anyway (but what sportier people burn through in a couple of days). 

I recently sprained my ankle, so I clocked less than half of that this month—enough for a modest appetizer and the strawberry dessert (not even an entrée!). 

However, for journalists just beginning their relationship with the road, or who'd rather not have one to begin with, Kalenji sent everyone an advance email assuring us (translated from French), "Don't have the time or desire to run right now? No problem: The run is optional, and no one will be deprived from dinner!" 

That's sweet—and smart—from a PR perspective, but it sadly undermines the entire campaign. (Full disclosure: We couldn't make the dinner, but would have wanted to play fair if we had, because what can we say? We like rules.) 

Below, find photos of an example dish, as well as the restaurant:


Client: Kalenji

Agency: Rosapark

Co-Founders: Jean-Patrick Chiquiar / Jean-François Sacco / Gilles Fichteberg

Account Management: Victor Faubert

Strategic Planning: Sacha Lacroix / Mickaël Mougenot

Creative Directors: Mark Forgan / Jamie Standen

Artistic Director: Julien Saurin

Copywriter: Nicolas Gadesaude

Production Company: Birth

Producer: Hugo Nathan-Legrand

Director: Vincent Rodella

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@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.