Mizuno, Kenan-Flagler and McKinney present the research behind “What if Everybody Ran” campaign - McKinney

Mizuno, Kenan-Flagler and McKinney present the research behind “What if Everybody Ran” campaign

May 2, 2014

On Thursday, March 30, nearly 100 people came to Koury Auditorium at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School to learn the surprising results gathered by a team of MBA students commissioned by Mizuno USA to explore the positive, cumulative impact that running could have on America if everybody ran. Presenters from Mizuno USA, McKinney and UNC talked for an hour about how the research helped shape the running shoe retailer’s newest campaign, What if Everybody Ran, as well as its early impact. A reception followed.

MBA students Ellen Kane and Chris Campbell began the presentation by explaining how well their experience as students at Kenan-Flagler prepared them for this project. “It required a blend of analytical thinking and creatively thinking outside the box,” said Chris. He likened it to the ampersand used in much of the school’s marketing, including their tagline, “Shaping Leaders & Driving Results.”

Mizuno USA Vice President of Brand Marketing and Management Ahmet Abaci then talked about what differentiates Mizuno from other brands in the running shoe category. “It’s our beliefs about what sports can do, that they can make the world a better place,” he said. With just 1 percent of category media spend and a very small share of voice, Mizuno had quite a challenge. As Mizuno USA’s agency of record, McKinney eagerly took it on.

“In the running category, there’s a lot of talk about how often, how far and how fast people run. We wanted to elevate the conversation to how they feel while they’re running and after they’ve run,” explained McKinney Head of Account Planning Walt Barron. “You are transformed. You feel better physically and mentally.” McKinney wanted to make this personal experience America’s experience. The agency went looking for someone to help make a hypothetical national feat feel tangible. “We searched the globe and ended up eight miles down the road at UNC,” he said.

Each member of the team from UNC owned a set of facts about the impact that running just 30 minutes a week could have on the country if everyone did it. “We relied primarily on data from peer-review academic journals and connected it with a population that is relevant to the data using information from the U.S. Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” explained Ellen. Two team members who could not attend the presentation, Deepak Gopalakrishna and Jessica Newfield, spoke via a short video.

Then they took what they’d found back to McKinney to make sure it made sense to the audience the advertising was aiming to reach. The complete results of the analysis are available in a white paper on Mizuno USA’s website. Here’s a taste of what they found:

Up to 46% fewer homeless people
20% stronger memory
135 million more victory beers
McKinney brought the results to life on a microsite, which Ellen and Chris scrolled through for the audience. Then Walt showed a few of the campaign digital display, print ads and eight online videos, followed by Ahmet, who revealed early campaign results. Walt concluded the presentation with the anthem spot, a version of which was broadcast in Boston during last month’s Boston Marathon, the first TV spot Mizuno Running has ever done. “It was a big moment to be able to contribute in that setting,” said Ahmet.