The checkoff-funded Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) partnered with the Philadelphia Distance Run, the Classic Half Marathon held Sept. 21, 2008, to position lean beef as the protein choice to fuel active bodies and to introduce more than 15,800 elite athletes, and their families, to beef’s nutrition platform. And the event promotion just won the Region 6 Best of NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) award in the “Producer-funded public relations campaign directed to consumers” category.

"Runners are an important audience for beef. Recent beef checkoff market research revealed that active adults, such as runners, are highly motivated and pay close attention to all health issues, particularly those that pertain to food," says Carrie Bomgardner, public relations director for the NEBPI.

"This lifestyle group also is very influential, sharing their knowledge about health and food with their peers through conversations and technology. Beef needs to be top of mind as a protein choice that delivers zinc, iron and B vitamins, important nutrients for healthy bodies. Events such as this race help us extend our limited checkoff dollars to consumers in the 1-95 corridor, a major metropolitan market."

Prior to the race, staff used the Health & Fitness Expo as a platform to talk with race participants and their families about beef in their diet. Expo visitors also had an opportunity to sign-up forBeef So Simple, an e-newsletter with a weekly recipe and nutrition information. To promote the beef message during race day, staff distributed Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner ® cowbells for families to cheer their favorite runners to the finish. To remind runners about beef after the race, all 15,800 race participants received Confident Cooking with Beef, a 33-page recipe and cookery brochure, in their complimentary goodie bags.

Participants and spectators were also actively engaged by a beef nutrition ad in the Philadelphia Distance Run program book, logo on the entry forms and Spectator Guides as well as the race Web site. NEBPI staff worked to distribute key nutrition pieces, sign up expo participants for the Beef So Simple e-newsletter and connect with registered dieticians, physical education teachers and wellness coordinators after the Expo. Beef appetizers were also served at the VIP/Athlete Dinner and Reception with guests that included 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist, Catherine Ndereba.

The Big Finish A “Get Moovin’ with Lean Beef” logo adorned the back of 570 t-shirts worn by Children’s Fun Run participants, ages 3-12. During the race, 3,000 cowbells rang to cheer runners to the Finish Line in the crowd of approximately 35,000 spectators.

The NEBPI, a program of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, was established to extend the reach of checkoff dollars throughout the Northeast. Consumers, retailers and foodservice operators now have full-time support staff available to partner and participate in events, promotions and programs that are designed to increase beef demand throughout the region.