brand experience brief: boston marathon adidas runbase
What do you get when you combine a museum, community center, and store all focused on promoting running? You get the Boston Marathon Adidas Runbase. This Brand Experience Brief takes you inside this one of a kind venue.
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What do you get when you combine a museum, community center, and store all focused on promoting running? You get the Boston Marathon Adidas Runbase. Located on Boylston Street in the heart of Boston, the Adidas Runbase is in its own words “a celebration of the runners of Boston.” This brand experience brief takes you inside this one of a kind venue.
It’s not a large space but it packs in a great experience on all fronts. First, the museum part. There are lots of signs, displays, and posters on different aspects of running — including an homage to the Boston Athletic Association, historic photos, paraphernalia from the history of running, and inspirational quotes including this one from Bobbi Gibb. The space really celebrates the Boston Marathon and its runners with a multi-screen interactive digital screen that displays the race route, signage and artifacts throughout the store, and a huge 3D topographical map of the race, plus memorials of the bombings that happened near the finish line a couple of years ago.
Then there’s the community center aspect of the location. There are lockers and showers which you can use any time or for the group runs that start and end at the Runbase. When I visited, there were signs promoting the Boston Athletic Association 10K and a weekly Run Club fun run. It offers small flyers that outline neighborhood running routes and a training program for the Boston Marathon. Although I visited on an evening that would have been perfect for running, there weren’t any actual runners in or around the store, but it seems like the place is really trying to be a running hub for the community.
Finally the Adidas Runbase is a retail store, selling running shoes and apparel. The shoe area displays 30-40 different types of running shoes and there are a couple of treadmills to try out the shoes on. There is a digital screen that invites you to learn about the features and technology that make up Adidas shoes, including this cool one that shows the impact cushioning of its Boost design. The employee serving customers seemed knowledgeable and friendly in a low-key way.
Despite this being a store, the Adidas branding is quite subtle. I think that was intentional and smart. Because the experience is more about running in general, the marathon, and the people of the running community, it’s positioned as a place for people to go more often, to feel more comfortable and understood, to learn, be inspired, connect with others, and be a part of the brand through their purchases and their presence — all are aspirations of strong brand. So, kudos to Adidas for its Boston Marathon Runbase.