Brand refresh: the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon

June 13, 2012

There is nothing easy about 26.2 miles.

A staple in the Dallas running community, and the oldest marathon in Texas, the White Rock Marathon – a Richards Partners client of five years – came to us with a problem: They’d grown up. What had kicked off in 1971 as a race with 82 participants was now one of Dallas’s largest single-day events, attracting more than 24,000 runners and 300,000 spectators each December. 

It was time for the marathon to step up as one of the major economic drivers for the City of Dallas. It was time for the race to stake its claim as not only the local favorite, but a major destination marathon. It was time to evolve the brand beyond the “White Rock” moniker. The Dallas Marathon brand was born.

So, how do you change a name but retain the brand equity you’ve built for 40-plus years? And better yet, how do you do it in the 60 days before registration opens for the 2012 race?

You sprint (something most marathoners don’t understand).

We hit the ground running, engaging our award-winning graphic identity firm RBMM to redesign a 30-year-old logo. The result: a powerful mark, indicative of the event’s history and energy while subtly referencing a new Dallas (and race course) icon: the Santiago Calatrava-designed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

With the aid of a renewed partnership between the marathon and City Hall, we engaged Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm to host a press conference, at which she and Dallas Marathon chairman Kevin Snyder unveiled the name change and new visual identity. Every major media outlet in Dallas-Fort Worth attended.

Local advertising communicating the name change launched the same day as the press conference on digital outdoor boards and donated television and radio PSAs. Our aggressive media relations outreach placed stories with top national outlets including the online hubs for Runner’s WorldCompetitorMarathon & Beyond and ESPN Dallas. Ultimately, Richards Partners’ efforts on behalf of the Dallas Marathon’s name change garnered more than 100 unique story placements and more than 77 million impressions.

For more information on the Dallas Marathon, visit