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From Hutch to Vodafone, Delhi Half Marathon drive gathers steam

26-October-2007
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From Hutch to Vodafone, Delhi Half Marathon drive gathers steam

As Delhi gets ready for the 3rd Vodafone Delhi Half Marathon, where nearly 28,000 participants are expected to take part, title sponsor Vodafone Essar has been on an overdrive to promote the mega event since its re-branding from the earlier Hutch. In the past, the Hutch Delhi Half Marathon has been a great branding exercise for the telecom service provider and its communication, especially ‘Dilli daudegi’ has been widely appreciated.

For Vodafone, the platform of a marathon is seen as a run for victory against all odds, a run for a noble cause and, most importantly, a run to celebrate the spirit of Delhi. Sanjoy Mukerji, Operations Director, Vodafone Essar, said, “Vodafone is immensely proud to be a part of this event that has given people a reason to believe in a cause and actually run that extra mile to make a difference to the society they live in. With every passing year, we have got overwhelming response in terms of awareness and compassion. In future, we would expect the same from our association with the event.”

Conducted in two phases, the promotional campaign of the Hutch Delhi Half Marathon, now renamed Vodafone Delhi Half Marathon, this year kicked off with the objective to drive maximum registrations for the event. Mukerji said, “We were looking at enticing people to come forward and take part in the Half Marathon, therefore, the theme of ‘Daudne ke liye dil chahiye’ was used.” The advertising was hugely supported by on-ground activities.

The campaign showed people from all walks of life, be it old people, housewives, MNC employees and the youth. Besides, Hamster Wheels were put up in high congregation areas for people to warm up prior to the Half Marathon. Also, youngsters were seen at malls (flash mobs), outside movie theatres and other popular joints doing a little jig to announce the Marathon season in bright pink Hutch T-shirts. With an objective to motivate resident welfare associations (RWA), a contest to select the best RWA is being organised, which will be judged by a noted celebrity based on certain predefined criteria on the day of the Half Marathon.. The winning RWA will be given a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, which can be used effectively for various development work.

Mukerji further said, “In the second phase of the promotional plan, the brand change took place. It is now Vodafone Delhi Half Marathon 2007. Having met the objective of the first phase to drive maximum registrations, the second phase of promotion was to motivate the people who had registered. Emphasis was to gear them up for the Marathon. Thus came the new theme ‘Delhi Daudegi Dil se’.” This time again on-ground activities such as Hamster wheel, Flash mug and RWA engagement programmes were seen.

It is a fact that Hutch and the Delhi Half Marathon have become synonymous with each other. So, how difficult was it to change this association? Mukerji replied, “Hutch Delhi Half Marathon has been taking place in the city for the past two years and we have indeed garnered a lot of success. We have a long-standing relationship with Delhi and this is a small way of giving back to the community by providing a platform where people run for a cause and generate huge funds for charity. About our future plans, all we would like to say is that as of now we are enjoying the transition. We cannot comment on our future plans regarding the association with the Marathon.”

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