MS Run the US was preparing for their first annual cross-country endurance relay, in which runners would run a series of back to back marathons across the nation. Avalon was hired to attract and secure runners, secure financial and product sponsorships and promote the event throughout the course of the 6 month relay.
A comprehensive communication and outreach strategy was developed for MS Run to raise awareness of the fight against multiple sclerosis while partnering with media throughout the country to attract runners and sponsors in their area to join the cause. Once runners and sponsors were secured, the overall promotion of the event began.
A core element of the campaign was to secure endurance runners across the nation to participate in the event. Avalon created a “Call to Runners” which, in part, helped the organization to secure the 14 runners who participated in the 2013 relay.
A second element of the campaign was to help strengthen the existing partnership between MS Run the US and its main financial contributor, Money Mutual and to secure product donations for the relay participants. Avalon created a “Call to Sponsors” and reached out to several companies who donated product throughout the relay and aided MS Run the Us’ efforts to strengthen their relationship with Money Mutual by securing interviews with journalists and broadcast engagements across the country for both the founder, Ashley Kumlien, as well as Money Mutual’s celebrity endorser, Montel Williams, renowned syndicated talk show host. Through a collaborated effort with Montel’s publicist and president of his foundation, Montel agreed to be a spokesperson for the organization and met with Ashley Kumlien at several segments during the relay where they promoted and discussed the relay with journalists and on broadcast segments.
The final element of the campaign was to secure media exposure for the organization as well as the runners. Press collateral was created and distributed to the media across the country while ongoing discussions and interaction with regional and national media drove a consistent flow of awareness throughout the country.
In addition to securing athletes to run the race and sponsors to fund it, Avalon’s efforts generated over 150 articles and televised segments throughout the course of the cross country relay. From its start in Santa Monica, CA to its finish in New York, NY, coverage and awareness of the MS Run athletes and cause culminated to a lasting impact on the communities through which it passed and all who watched in amazement as these runners fought daily to run unbelievable distances to support their great cause. Existing sponsorship relationships were strengthened and new sponsors were secured for future relays. Due to the overall success of the event and communications program, a second annual MS Run the US is now in the works.