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Rebranding a Marathon
A New Brand and a Brand New History
Since its inaugural race in 2013, the Peoria Marathon & River City Races has been a growing success. Serving as a Boston Marathon qualifier, it attracts runners from all around the country and the world. However, the race organizers wanted it to be more than “just a race” so they challenged us to help turn it into a community-wide event – and have a tie in to Peoria’s historic past as the Whiskey Capital of the World before Prohibition.
Clearly, this meant we had to develop something more than just a new identity. We had to create something big, something new – something that the city of Peoria could totally own. And our solution started with a single (new) word: Whiskeydaddle.
Combining “whiskey” and “skeedaddle,” Whiskeydaddle has served as a launching off point for an entire city-wide, whiskey-themed event that, along with marathon and other races, will include barrel tossing competitions, barrel races, costume contests and even a pinewood derby race for the kids.
Along with a complete identity, we also created two characters, Whiskeydaddle Dan and Whiskeydaddle Daisy, along with a complete fictional world around the “Legend of the Whiskeydaddler.”
But we even took it a step further by writing an entire book – yes, a full-length book – about the legend of the whiskeydaddler in Peoria – “Where the Whiskey Runs: A Whiskeydadder’s Tale.” The book is being released chapter by chapter (one per week) on the event’s website and on social media, leading up to the race in October.
The story itself is set in Peoria in 1896 (at the height of the city’s whiskey production) and follows the exploits of Dan and Daisy. The goal is to give people a reason to come back to the website and stay engaged leading up to the October event.
Because of the historical and whiskey-related theme, other groups in the community – the Peoria Historical Society, the Peoria Riverfront Museum and downtown bars and restaurants –are playing a role, truly making it a community-wide event. It just goes to show how a unique and special idea can organically turn it into something a whole lot bigger.