Abbott Laboratories’ title sponsorship of the World Marathon Majors represents two firsts: The healthcare company’s first consumer-facing sponsorship and WMM’s first title sponsor.

The deal also illustrates the growing popularity of sponsorship among healthcare companies, an industry that is increasingly adopting a direct-to-consumer approach to marketing as a result of the changing healthcare landscape.

Abbott will use the WMM to support its new “Life to the Fullest” brand tagline. The series is comprised of six of the largest marathons in the world: The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Boston Marathon, TCS New York City Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and the Virgin Money London Marathon.

The need for a consumer-facing global marketing platform follows the 2013 spin-off of AbbVie, Abbott’s pharmaceutical business. Abbott now generates roughly 50 percent of sales from consumer products and 71 percent from markets outside the U.S.

“We’re moving from being a well-known brand among health care providers and aspiring to be better known by consumers,” said Paul Magill, Abbott senior vice president and CMO.  

Endurance sports was a natural fit, said Magill, pointing to the affiliation between healthcare products and Abbott’s “Life to the Fullest” marketing platform.

Abbott kicked off the partnership at last weekend’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The company activated the sponsorship by using slow-motion videos to capture attendees discussing how they live their lives to the fullest. Abbott captured the content at the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.

Abbott promoted the sponsorship through out-of-home media and hosted a cheer zone staffed by Abbott employees.

“Chicago will be the template of how we activate other races.”

Abbott Sales Mix
Abbott Sales Mix

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Abbott Sales By Geography

Abbott Leading Markets
Abbott Leading Markets