By Michael O'Connell Posted May 12, 2009, 11:52 AM EDT
No, those 6,000 women throwing synchronized punches and kicks in the park this weekend weren't preparing for battle—they were getting an afternoon's worth of branded exercise. Self magazine's Workout in the Park returned to Central Park's Rumsey Playfield on Saturday, with rows of new sponsor tents and a lower ticket price of $15 to please its many returning customers.
Now in its 16th year, the day of fitness makes stops in San Diego, New York, and Chicago each spring. And though there haven't been many dramatic changes from year to year, Self decided that 2009 was the time to revive the aesthetics—and lower the price by $5.
“In terms of our brand and our magazine's mission, now's the time to remind readers that while they might not be able to control what's going on in the economy, they can always control what they're doing with their body,” said Self associate publisher of creative services Yung Moon. “By keeping this series fresh, we're saying to readers and advertisers that we're taking adventage of the strongest program we have and making it even stronger.”
Moon charged Los Angeles-based Jason Wanderer of Precision Event Group to execute the changes she had in mind. The two started with redoing all of the sponsor tents in a uniform purple palette to make the different booths more accessible for guests and better showcase the partnering brands. Tents from sponsors offered simple product samples such as EAS energy bars and more involved services such as mini makeovers from Maybelline New York and skin consultations by Garnier.
Even bigger brand integration included presenting sponsor Ford's “Rebounding Zone” just inside the entrance. The carmaker was given a larger area for its daylong series of trampoline classes and a space to showcase one of its newer models. “People have become familiar with our advertisers at this event,” Moon said. “It's why we've seen steady growth in each of the markets.”
The uniform tenting and displays meant that different equipment couldn't just be rented in each of the three markets. Precision transported each of the project's custom elements from San Diego to New York in two semis, and those same trucks left New York for Chicago earlier this week for perhaps the most altered stop on Self's three-city tour.
A need for a more central location—with easier parking for attendees—and a larger venue have led the Chicago iteration to move from Lincoln Park to Grant Park this year. (The hundreds of thousands crammed into the space for Obama's election night speech helped convince Moon.) The Chicago event also gets a bit of a celebrity component, in the form of The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels, who'll address the crowd in Grant Park this Saturday.
Correction: This story has been changed to include a revised attendance count.