It takes a village: how Asics got a small town to lace up and raise money for Mind UK

The Drum 14 Sep 2021 07:00


Building on its commitment to help customers improve their mental health through movement, Asics has partnered with mental health charity Mind to realize its ambition of lifting the mood of an entire town. As part of our Experienital Marketing Deep Dive, The Drum caught up with executive vice-president Gary Raucher to find out what he hopes the legacy of its attempt will be.

When the Covid-19 pandemic caused Asics to revisit its founding principle of ’healthy body, healthy mind,’ the sports brand turned to its customers to fuel its research into the power of movement on mental wellbeing.

Partnering with Mind UK, the brand will be hosting a unique day of activity in a small town in England in the hopes of getting the community moving and gaining insights into its impact through the use of its Mind Uplifter Tool.

All surveys were conducted between May 10 and May 27 2021. The sample comprised 6,474 adults from 40 English counties, with a minimum of 150 respondents from each county. Participants were asked to score themselves out of 100 (0 being the lowest and 100 the highest) across 10 emotional (feeling composed, relaxed, positive, content, confident and resilient) and cognitive (feeling alert, calm, focused and energized) traits.

“We were looking for a willingness to participate alongside a desire for an uplift,” explains Asics executive vice-president Gary Raucher.

On the day of the experiment, which will take place on September 25, residents of the town of Retford will be invited to partake in a series of movement initiatives and measure the collective impact on their mental wellbeing. Dr Brendon Stubbs – a leading expert on movement and mental health – is overseeing the experiment having helped design the events of the day.

“The circuit itself is about a mile long, so it’s very accessible and all along the course there will be different stops where people can get involved in various exercises.”

“What is critically important is the health and safety and well being of all participants and we’d absolutely have protocols in place to ensure that we’re aligned with the latest governmental suggestions as well as regulations.”

Asics sports ambassadors will also be present on the day and Raucher pledges there are plenty of surprises in store.

Investing in community

“We know that there are some tennis courts and also a running track that is in need of some repair, so we’re working with the council to really make sure that this isn’t just a one off event, but that we’re making a commitment to helping people uplift their minds on an ongoing basis.”

“This allows us to have localized insights into what additional activities we could be setting up – we have sports marketing assets, ambassadors, coaches and trainers that we can encourage to engage with local communities to encourage people to be active,” Raucher said at the time.

Every participant who captures a Mind Uplift on the day will raise funds for Mind’s work across the country, supporting the charity’s commitment to fight for better mental health.

From festivals to retail installations to unmissable activations, we examine the avenues open to marketers to reach consumers enjoying their newfound freedom in The Drum’s Experiential Deep Dive.

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