Creating Legends: How adidas Used Personalized Video to Connect with Boston Marathon Runners

Creating Legends: How adidas Used Personalized Video to Connect with Boston Marathon Runners

adidas is one of the main sponsors of the Boston Marathon and, like other event sponsors, was looking for a way to create a more meaningful connection with participants and viewers – something that goes beyond the standard freebies giveaway.

Working with their agency Grow, adidas decided to push the limits of innovation and create Personalized Videos for each and every runner, congratulating them for their participation and giving them an opportunity to share their accomplishments in the form of a boast reel. But adidas was seeking to create truly personalized videos, which would include real race data for each runner as well as clips of that very runner shot during the race itself.

Easier Said Than Done

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Bringing this vision to reality wasn’t simple. There were two key challenges that had to be addressed in order to make it a reality, namely:

  • Shooting the footage and matching it to each runner: This was covered by Grow, who used a team of 18 people and 8 cameras along the course to generate the footage and the RFID chip on each runner’s bib to match the footage to the runner. Using the RFID chip in the bib allowed adidas not only to track race performance but also to accurately match the footage captured at each checkpoint to the runner and automatically pull that footage to be used in that runner’s Personalized Video.
  • Producing and rendering 30,000 videos within hours of the race: This was performed by Idomoo’s Personalized Video as a Service platform (PVaaS™), which currently renders videos at 10X real-time speed while enabling full creative flexibility. Idomoo’s low-touch platform enabled Grow to easily set up, launch and manage the campaign while giving them the tools to providing a truly Native Personalized Video for each and every runner – meaning that the personalized elements in the video were inserted before rendering rather than added afterwards as an overlay, resulting in high quality videos.

The final videos included the runner’s name, their times at different checkpoints in the race, as well as personal clips of the runner taken at some point along the course. 

So… was it worth it?

You bet it was. While this campaign is considered as being relatively “low volume” in the world of Personalized Video, where volumes are generally measured in the millions rather than the thousands, it was a great showcase for an innovative application of the technology.

All said and done, 57% of all runners who finished the race viewed their video and over a quarter of these runners shared their video on Facebook. This social sharing drove hundreds of thousands of views, with an astonishing 95% video completion rate. Just as importantly, the campaign drove over 80,000 visitors to the company’s web properties. Not surprisingly, this social buzz was overwhelmingly positive. This amazing engagement didn’t stop with the social views and sharing, as it also reflected in the email campaign used to distribute the Personalized Videos. The email open rate was more than double that of the brand’s own benchmarks and, perhaps most spectacularly of all, product sales driven by emails were up an astonishing 1,189%!

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