So, you STILL think phones are for talking?
When the organizers of “One Run For Boston” wanted to instantly update their runners and supporters about the progress of their 24/7 cross-country relay, they embedded a Live Streaming Photo Gallery to celebrate the names and faces making their dream event a reality.
A fundraiser for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the emotional 3,300-mile journey began in Venice Beach, California on June 7 and ended on July 1 at the Boston Marathon finish line. The U.S. route was divided into 319 legs or stages, witnessing countless gorgeous sunsets but also several bouts of extremely brutal weather. Neither the scorching heat in Death Valley, thunderstorms in the Texas panhandle nor floods in Pennsylvania stopped the devoted runners from passing on the baton.
One Run For Boston co-founders Kate Treleaven, Danny Bent, and Jamie Hay wanted a centralized photo-sharing gallery that lived on their Website to motivate donors and supporters but also keep upcoming runners hundreds of miles away constantly engaged.
Runners and fans sent their mobile pics of the action to OneRun@pongr.com or used the Pongr app (iPhone or Android) and then watched the crowdsourced, automated photo album expand before their eyes. Saving time by not having to curate the photo gallery was critical — it was time that Treleaven and Bent found better spent by running multiple 10-to-20 mile stretches of the trans-USA route.
“The live photo gallery showed the differences in landscape and the diversity of all the people who helped make this happen,” says Bent. “If we put it on a film and just sped it up, those photos would tell the story of One Run for Boston. People are requesting that we put them all in a book. Those photos became a real focal point for all the runners.”
“Pongr acted as our human touch,” adds Hay. “The gallery really helped bring our event to life for all the people who couldn’t be there — and for all the runners from different parts of the country to cheer each other on.”
Nearly 400 runners posted more than 1,300 live photos of One Run For Boston. Each contributor automatically received a direct response message on their mobile phone, thanking them for their participation and providing a one-click option to share on Facebook and Twitter.
For the benefit of other race directors or event planners, here’s how Pongr’s Photo Response Marketing tools made a memorable impact on ORFB:
THE ULTIMATE TIME SAVER
Jamie Hay: “The biggest challenge of being behind the scenes of a 24/7 race is that you don’t get any sleep. Every moment counts. While you’re sleeping, while you’re going out for dinner, while you’re on your computer, you know that baton is moving and you’ve got to make sure it’s moving in the right direction at the right time.”
“Pongr was huge. It helped us coordinate and collect all the photos on our own site. So you could see the baton move across the country, and then also see the runners, their families and friends and all the supporters. So everyone waiting for their stage to come could get a real buzz about this event and really look forward to their stage!”
CONVENIENCE & VERSATILITY
Kate Treleaven: “The great thing about Pongr was that I could post photos through text or email straight from my mobile phone. We were going through some areas where it was impossible for us to get the laptop out and hook up to wifi – or where the connection was too slow to upload any pics to Facebook. It was so reassuring to know that I could still be posting these photo updates with my comments.”
“I started to use Pongr as a verb and I would say to people, “Excuse me a second while I just Pongr your photo!”
THE POWER OF CROWDSOURCING
Jamie Hay: “It was overwhelming to look at all the submissions — especially on the last day of the relay because it was so hectic and we didn’t get a huge amount of time to take our own photos. I mean, we were running the stage. So to be able to go online afterwards and see the photos of the baton crossing the finish line, it was huge for us!”
DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR OWN SITE
Kate Treleaven: “The embedded Pongr photo gallery occupied a place of pride on our live tracking page. It was our first port of call, so at any time day or night, they could just log on and see within seconds what was happening. We became more aware as the journey transpired that there were people hanging on every photo — just for progress reports.”
HOW PICTURE SHARING WITH PONGR DIFFERS FROM FACEBOOK
Kate Treleaven: “With a Facebook stream, there’s a lot of other clutter that you have to sort through. I think the Pongr gallery is just a clear and direct way of getting visual images to people to instantly explain what is going on.”
Mary Hoatlin, One Run’s Facebook Page Moderator: “I think when getting the word out, we are going to use as many avenues as possible. If I see a picture that needs to be seen, I am going to post it everywhere. The advantage with using Pongr is that people don’t need an account to see those images, where they would to see them on Facebook and Twitter.”
(Interested in using Pongr’s Live Streaming Photo Gallery to build momentum for your event? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you have cooking!)