The Boston Marathon and the Email that got Social Media Fired Up!

Greetings fellow bloggers and readers!

Over the mid-semester break, the Boston Marathon Run was held in Boston, Massachusetts. Many of you will know this event from what happened in 2013, where two bombs were planted at the event, that resulted in three people dead and many injured.

Fast-forward to 2017, the marathon still goes ahead with around 30,000 people participating each year. This year however, on the day after the completion of the Boston Marathon, a simple ‘congratulatory’ email for completing the race was the sent by the major sponsor to all athletes that signed up to compete. The email would have been appropriate, if their subject line wasn’t so direct… (read on to find out what happened!)

That major sponsor was the sports apparel brand, ‘Adidas.’  They played a large role in the marketing of the event.

Adidas made Boston Marathon Apparel and digitally marketed their content, by sending regular promotional emails to the athletes informing them about the race and the range of sports gear that was available for purchase on their online store.

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Their digital marketing campaign was flawless (besides that one email, that i’ll get to in the next paragraph..). They created a hashtag, #WHYIRUNBOSTON, that the athletes could caption and post a photo stating the reason/story for why he or she is running on social media. This #hashtag, created large amounts of interest and awareness for the event, as well as for Adidas.

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So if it wasn’t clear from the images above, Adidas sent out an email with the ‘controversial’ subject line ‘Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!’ The reason it was controversial was because of the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013. People on social media were outraged that a subject line like this was created by the Adidas marketing team.

This demonstrates how important the subject line is in email marketing. It affects whether the individual will either read or disregard the email.

In Adidas’s case, this could have had a negative impact on sales and brand image.

However they did post an apology: (three days later..)

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From the discussion above, could Adidas have acted upon their digital marketing mistake differently? If so, how?


2 thoughts on “The Boston Marathon and the Email that got Social Media Fired Up!

  1. This is just as bad as the Pepsi fiasco I blogged about. Tone deafness seems to be a real struggle with big companies this year. Cannot fathom how nobody in the department running this thought this was a horrible idea


    1. Thanks for the response! Yes it does seem, that there needs to be a series of checks by the marketing department before releasing their content, to ensure something of this scale, never happens again!


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