- Athletic brand New Balance designed a pub in London called The Runaway that lets runners trade miles for beer. Customers must track their miles with the Strava fitness app and convert them to currency on the “Runaway Card” that they add to an Apple or Google mobile wallet, Campaign reported.
- The pub doesn’t accept any other form of payment, and aims to reach runners in the United Kingdom who gather to exercise and drink pints of beer. Runners can complete four challenges centered on marathon training, to accumulate points to convert into brew-buying currency at the pub.
- The Runaway has a fully stocked bar and provides a place for runners to relax and socialize. It also has a gym and weights area to stretch or workout. New Balance worked with agency VMLY&R to develop the pub and mobile-powered campaign.
New Balance’s Runaway pub aims to strengthen the brand’s ties with a core audience of running enthusiasts who are most likely to buy its products. The idea of an athletic apparel company opening a pub may seem unconventional, but it’s in the spirit of some running clubs like the Hash House Harriers that organize non-competitive running events and reward themselves with beers afterward. Samantha Matthews, senior marketing manager at New Balance UK and Ireland, said the Runaway effort is part of the company’s broader Everybody’s Race campaign leading up to the London Marathon on April 28.
New Balance’s pub depends heavily on mobile technologies that help runners track their miles and trade them in for a virtual currency that’s attached to an electronic wallet. By partnering with the Strava fitness app, New Balance can reach an audience of tech-savvy and mobile-friendly runners, as Mercedes-Benz Brazil did in a campaign last year.
Combining apps with a brick-and-mortar setting — a “brick and mobile” marketing strategy — is a big theme for athletic brands like New Balance. Nike this month opened a SNKRS pop-up store in Atlanta that serves users of the brand’s mobile app with exclusive shoes, apparel and other merchandise, including access to new shoe drops. Nike will make limited-edition shoes available at the SNKRS Atlanta location, using its Shock Drop app feature to send app users a push notification of product availability.