An Ambitious Campaign with a Short Timeframe for Deliverables
With 47,000 entrants and 2 million spectators, The ING New York City Marathon is like no other event on Earth. Veteran creative agency Vitro decided to go big for the event with its “Support Your Marathoner” campaign for athletic products company ASICS. In order to support runners as they tackled the marathon, Vitro collected thousands of videos, photos and messages from runners’ friends and families. As a participant passed certain points in the race, his or her supporters’ messages would pop up on giant LED screens around them. The firm had just two months to both collect the user generated content as well as coordinate with marathon organizers to have it displayed throughout the course.
Vitro partnered with web development and marketing firm Bowman Design for the design, PhooGoo for the front end development and interactive and creative agency Gauged2 for the back end development. Gauged2 Co-Founder Brian Burridge was responsible for delivering a website capable of registering over 47,000 marathon participants, who could create profiles and solicit supportive messages via Twitter, Facebook and email. The site would also have to collect pre-recorded video, live messages from users’ webcams, text overlaid to images and stand alone text messages from friends and family. Burridge had just three weeks to push the site into production so Vitro could collect enough submissions before the race.
Heroku Add-ons Prove Crucial to Meeting Deadline
“Heroku proved crucial to this campaign by eliminating the overhead of the server setup and config”, says Burridge. He set up his entire staging environment with one command: heroku create. He then leveraged Heroku Add-ons like Cron, Airbrake, and PG backups to build his app’s infrastructure within minutes. Each Add-on took mere seconds to deploy with one command in Brian’s terminal. Brian also utilized Heroku’s Postgres database-as-a-service, every record within “Support Your Marathoner” was secured and archived using Heroku’s Continuous Protection.
With all of the supportyourmarathoner.com infrastructure and operations set up without the need for a sys admin, Gauged2 took the design mockups and started coding. After three weeks of development and testing, the Gauged2 team was able to meet their deadline and pushed the site to production. Vitro then began their PR push and collected 19,000 messages to scatter across the race. Burridge utilized Heroku’s ZenCoder add-on to compress the video submissions collected, giving the Vitro team plenty of time to coordinate their display.
“Support Your Marathoner” Shines in Prime Time
The true test came on race day when thousands from around the world gathered across New York City and would see the campaign in full effect. “Support Your Marathoner” participants laughed, cried, and threw their hands up in celebration as messages from their friends and families cheered them on mile by mile throughout the marathon. ASICS liked “Support Your Marathoner” so much in 2010, they decided to host it again in 2011. Heroku’s erosion-resistant stack ensured the site works just as it did the year prior with no maintenance required from Gauged2. Check out supportyourmarathoner.com to see the final results.