John Hancock #WeRunTogether

Q: In a concise way, describe the project campaign? What is it and who is it targeted for?

After the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon, 30-year sponsor John Hancock knew that the 2014 race would be especially significant. To reflect that, the company designed a socially-driven campaign that focused on connecting those involved and featuring their unique stories.

Q: Please provide a URL with link to demo or video of the project campaign:

Q: Outline the business and/or marketing goals of the project/ campaign. Provide details on specific objectives. 

Since 1985, John Hancock has served as the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon. Leading up to this year’s Marathon, John Hancock wanted to extend its sponsorship online to further bring to life this year’s theme of connectivity.

 Q: Describe the strategic approach you took in planning the project/ campaign. What problem were you trying to solve? 

While every year is significant as the principal sponsor, the 2014 race was especially significant in light of the bombing in 2013.

For the 2014 race, we wanted to assess the content of the campaigns to strike the right balance, while certainly acknowledging what had happened but do so in a respectful and sensitive way.

With so much attention around “Boston Strong” immediately after the race bombing in 2013, the company knew that 2014 would be especially significant and meaningful to participants.

John Hancock and the Boston Athletic Association felt people would be ready to turn the page, and in this campaign, the company wanted to celebrate the spirit of strength that the race embodies.

Connectivity was the launching point for the campaign. We discovered a sense of connectivity existed not only between the runners and the Boston Athletic Association but between the runners, friends, families and the City of Boston. The Boston Marathon held significant meaning to all those involved. Our job was to determine how to bring the theme of connectivity to life on a tight budget that maximized visibility of the sponsorship and fundraising efforts.

Q: Describe the project/ campaign execution.

Knowing that each individual who felt connected to the marathon had a unique story about the Boston Marathon, we created an anthem for sharing these stories ‘ #WeRunTogether. #WeRunTogether was a cross channel campaign supported by paid social across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We worked with John Hancock to create custom content with the CTA to submit to the Mosaic

The #WeRunTogether mosaic encouraged the Marathon community ‘ runners, fans, volunteers, and non-profits ‘ to share their reasons for participating in the Boston Marathon in the form of videos, photos and/or text.  All content was aggregated into the mosaic visualization ‘representing the connectivity of the extended Boston Marathon community. The mosaics appeared online and on screens throughout the city of Boston during the Marathon. For each Mosaic submission, John Hancock donated $1 to the One Fund.

John Hancock Marathon

We strategically leveraged paid social to hyper-target people associated with the Boston Marathon in addition to targeting individuals with ties to the financial services category who also expressed interest in running.

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Lastly, we created a suite of eCards featuring the ‘We Run Together’? theme housed at in order to further digital reach and provide another forum for individuals to support the Marathon community.

Q: Results

By creating a shared space for conversations around the race, John Hancock was able to show its commitment and support for the Boston Marathon, drive national awareness of their sponsorship and promote their non-profit fundraising partnership with CrowdRise. John Hancock raised over $52,400 ‘ twice their original goal. According to the client, “We had higher participation than we had projected and happily so. Consequently, we were more than happy to make a larger donation than originally planned.”

Affinity-based targeting via paid social played a significant role in driving awareness of #WeRunTogether and ultimately engagement with the Mosaic ‘ with 33,230 stories submitted.

The #WeRunTogether paid social media campaign delivered 3.4 MM+ targeted impressions across Facebook and Twitter ‘ resulting in 58,000+ engagements with John Hancock content. The paid social was done at an extremely efficient cost-per-click of $0.45 driven by engagement rates of greater than 1% on Facebook and 2.47% for Twitter.

Over the course of 4 weeks, the #WeRunTogether hashtag was used more than 42,000 times across social channels and the #WeRunTogether hashtag was a trending topic nationally on Twitter on Marathon Monday. The White House even used the hashtag. #success

Twitter JH


 Q: What significantly differentiates this project from others?

The socially-driven campaign enabled the huge Marathon community to share their personal connection to the City of Boston and the Boston Marathon while supporting John Hancock’s fundraising efforts. Through the aggregation of tweets around #WeRunTogether, John Hancock raised over $52,400 ‘ twice their original goal.

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