Friday, October 24, 2014

Will you post a "Poland Spring Cheer" for your family and friends?

Every year when I watch the New York City Marathon I look out my window and admire the Poland Spring water station a few blocks north at mile 17.

This year, Poland Spring has decided to enhance their effort with social media and sampling. 

They are encouraging runners to create "Poland Spring Cheers" videos to thank the family and friends who support them.  Sharing will take place on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  They can be shot at a booth at the kick-off event, and then at the fitness expo.  The effort has been promoted by some well-known running bloggers.

For the rest of us, Poland Spring will be giving out free bottles of water in the Union Square subway station to complement the campaign they are doing. (Lukovitz, 2014)

So what do you think?  If you are running will you create a video?  If you aren't will you enjoy your free sample?  And after it's all over will it make you want to buy Poland Spring water on a regular basis?

Lukovitz, K. (2014, October 23)  Poland Spring Runs Video Campaign for NYC Marathon.  Retrieved October 24, 2004, from


  1. I like Poland Springs move to come out and engage with their audience via social media and create a buzz for their brand. The "Poland Spring Cheers" sounds like something along the ALS bucket challenge, the video part and then sharing it on Facebook and Instagram.
    What I really feel though is more of a "Redemption Move" on Poland Springs part, early last year they failed to cash on a golden opportunity, when Senator Marco Rubio’s mouth went dry in the middle of his live, televised reply to President Obama’s State of the Union address, he reached for a bottle of Poland Spring water to quench his thirst. This became an internet sensation, the only move the company made was, to post its celebrity water bottle on Facebook. Imagine the popularity they could have garnered on various social media platforms, if they had strategized the situation to their advantage.
    Probably they have realized their mistake, and have taken help of a Media Strategist/company to make a positive come back into the social media world.

  2. I ran once the 10K Nike’s Marathon and Gatorade was giving bottles to runners once you got to the end. I remember arriving so tired and thirsty that the only thing I was thinking of was to get something to drink and relax. This marathon was 7 years ago, and I still remember the fact that Gatorade was there, giving free bottles. Although, I’m not a daily drinker of Gatorade, every time I do sports I would love to have one because of the memory I have of that day.

    During my experience, never crossed my mind of making a video. Maybe it’s a good idea but I think that when you run a marathon you are more worried about having something to drink rather than making a video.

    The idea of giving water to people who are just watching is not a good opportunity. I think that Poland Spring should have given free bottle to runners to create a bond with them and their experience. And maybe ask families and friends to share videos or photos during the marathon.


  3. I generally support the idea of connecting with people during events, on the emotional level. Back in Poland, this is exactly what sponsors of my company's music festivals do: they arrange their on-site zones and offer the music festival goers all kinds of activities and experiences during the event, in order to connect the brand with positive emotions and overall atmosphere of the event. However, I'm not really convinced to the idea of posting the videos by runners during the run. Will they be willing to stop the run just to do that? And why would they want to do that at Poland Spring Water station and not spontaneously just on their phones, without engagement of any brand? From my experience, unless you give people some added value to the activation you propose, they will not be very willing to join the party. In our festivals, we always encourage sponsors to think further and actually offer some unforgettable experience rather than just focusing on branding. As far as free sampling in considered: I don't support the idea. Random people passing by on Union Square who will get the sample will not connect it to any event/ idea/ emotion and they will forget about it the minute they will finish the bottle.

    Malgorzata Marciniak

  4. I agree with Victoria, the fact that this strategy will make runners remember Poland Spring water. Maybe more when they are practicing any sport, but surely they will have it in their mind.

    Regarding giving water to all the attendees to the event is a waste of money, they are changing the course of the message that is water in the marathon. They must stick to only one thing for this event.

    Lastly, i believe that asking the runners to take a picture or video while they are running it is not a good idea. Very few people, for avoiding to say no one, will do it. An idea could be, after the race, they all upload their time in social media and write about their experience. The best idea will have a special reward related to water and running.

    A suggestion is that they most take advantage of their scenery, Union Square, a big and packed place. They must put a lot of attractive and all - place advertising. This, in a indirect way, will make people remind them and maybe, identify the water as the running one.

  5. Marathons generally attract marketer’s ideal demographic. Educated, high earners who are trendy and most likely to be the trendsetters amongst their peers. A brand’s presence at such events is a “cool by association” tactic and works favorably for the brand. The positives of the marathon like promoting a healthy lifestyle, being fitness oriented, all of that spills over to Poland’s brand identity and is beneficial to it.

    These events are special and people remember them for a long time. They take pictures, share them with friends, display them in their homes and offices. Any brand’s presence then transfers from on location into these people’s homes and they become part of the event memory. It definitely helps with top of mind recall. But I think this advantage would be lost if there are too many competing brands. I believe, exclusivity helps here or you can easily get lost in the crowd.

    Even if I take a picture or make a video, I will most likely not share it on social media. But that is just me. Most people who attend these events, most likely will share it. I see quite a few pictures of these events in my Facebook timeline.

  6. Walking through the Union Square subway station yesterday I was inundated with images of deliciously refreshing looking Poland Springs water bottles, dripping with condensation. I was immediately thirsty( luckily I had a bottle of Poland Springs water already in my bag). As a long time Poland Springs buyer ( I simply prefer the flavor of their water to other bottled brands), it is hard for me to judge this campaign from an entirely objective standpoint. I already reach for that brand logo in the store when I have the chance. Though I see what people are saying about Poland Spring not doing anything particularly unique to engage fans through this promotion with the water sampling, I am not sure it matters.

    The “Poland Spring Cheers" videos sound like a fun and engaging media outreach for those who run. Associating the brand with healthful running tips is another great boost to increase the brand’s reputation as promoting healthy habits. While I do not intend to engage in either of these parts of the marathon ad campaign, I can imagine that runners will enjoy them. As far as free samples? everybody loves them! Sure handing a person a bottle of free water won’t instantly convert them to a long term consumer, but in truth, water is water in the end. A large part of getting a specific brand of bottled water to rise above others, to my mind, is brand recognition. Poland Springs is already on an upswing in sales. People are buying their water. If I pass by their station and get a free bottle, I know I will appreciate it. I’m sure others will as well. And as they drink that free bottle, they will be, at the same time, bombarded with images of the Poland Spring’s label all around them ( on marathon promotions, on subway ads, on the subway turnstiles). I think that will help cement the image that was on that free bottle of water. With all of these ad promotions keeping their brand in the limelight and thanking their consumer for their continued success, I think they are successfully imprinting their name and logo in people’s minds which in turn will continue to drive consumers to grab Poland Springs over other bottled water simply because they know it well.


  7. For this campaign I think the video is a good strategy. For what I´ve seen in my facebook and instagram, people love posting things about their particpation on the marathon. It will be easy for them to do it at the kick off event and it will get exposure. I think a lot of runners have something sentimental involved with running or even just the achivement but they all want to share it, they want people to know about it and they want to thank their friends and families becuase there is a lot of effort involved and this is some kind of recognition.

  8. I don't think this is an as bad idea as it seems most of the other comments do. My experience from friends running marathons, triathlons etc is that they are extremely eager to share their experience with friends, on social media for example. Sometimes it feels like one of the reasons why they are running are to be able to put on a new profile picture on facebook from the day of the marathon… On this note, I believe that the campaign of them “thanking” their supporters could be successful, since their target (runners) in my experience are eager of sharing on social media, thus the Poland Spring Water brand can get a lot of attention.

    However, regarding the sampling at Union Square, I agree with the thoughts that have come up regarding that only sampling will probably not raise that much brand awareness - instead they should put on a more direct link between this and the marketing efforts at the event, if not people will probably just drink the water bottle and then dont really make a connection to the actual brand of water they just drank. Thus, just sampling could be a pretty costful way of working and their samples should probably be better distributed at an on-site event where a clear connection between Polar Spring Water and what they stand for as a brand can be made.


  9. Sincerely, I don't think this campaign would affect my purchase rate. Normally I'll buy Poland Spring because of value (one of the cheapest on the store fridge), so I believe this campaign won't add any value to my perception to this brand.
    If I were running I would do a video, most likely to send a small token of my appreciation to friends and family. I'm not, and I won't be around Union Square to get any samples. I would if Poland Springs give some samples at the 17 mile as I live nearby and my be strolling around with my family... unfortunately that is so not the case...
    I don't value this company effort as I won't bond to them, have no emotional appealing whatsoever.

  10. I think besides the fact that they have a booth in the marathon every year they want to create more awareness and engagement in their brand. I love running. That’s one of my favorite hobbies and I’ve been in the Gatorade marathon back in my country (Dominican Republic) twice. The whole time I was running there were Gatorade booths all over giving you free ones. Just the fact that I was incredibly tired and thirsty and they were giving me something to feel better is awesome and I remember that brand and love it. I would totally create a video and would prefer Poland Spring on a daily basis. I think is a great strategy to engage their consumers in a creative way.