Self Brings Outdoor Workout to Four Cities

Workout-seeking women came out in droves to spend a fitness-filled day in the park with the magazine.

May 31, 2006, 12:00 AM EDT

Self magazine's Workout in the Park Central Park Saturday, 05.13.06, 11 AM to 3 PM
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Self magazine practiced what it preaches four times this spring, hosting its 13th annual Self Workout in the Park in San Diego, Miami, New York, and Chicago every Saturday from April 29 to May 20. The coast-to-coast event brought a four-hour Crunch Fitness workout program to a total 12,000 attendees, as well as a quiet zone with meditation, yoga, and Pilates classes, and a boxing ring with kickboxing, capoeira, and Thai boxing lessons. Beyond fitness, Self also had 16 advertising sponsors on hand in individual blue dome-shaped tents, where consumers could get free product samples and demonstrations, in addition to beauty, nutrition, and health consultations.

“Essentially we wanted to bring the look, feel, and purpose of Self to life for our readers,” said Yung Moon, Self's executive director of creative services, who oversaw the program.Self charged $10 for advance-purchase tickets, and all who bought a ticket were given a one-year subscription to the magazine (which usually goes for $9).

When it came to planning the four-city tour, Moon said, “We created a template of what the event needed to look like, and we rolled it out the exact same way in each city.” To facilitate this, Moon worked with Dan Mannix of LeadDog Marketing Group to choose large, flat parks in each city that would best fit the 60,000-square-foot event and the sponsors' needs—such as accommodating caterers and keynote speakers.

One such need included the tour's first-ever L'Oréal Paris “Mind and Beauty” brunch that was held from 9 AM to 11 AM each morning in all four markets. The breakfast accommodated 200 people in each city and required a caterer and styling stations for cosmetics, skin care, and hair color consultations. “The biggest challenge we faced in planning the event this year was homing in on what exactly each advertiser was trying to achieve,” Moon said. “With L'Oréal Paris, for example, we had to go over what the design elements of the brunch were going to be, who was going to attend, how to promote the event, and, most important, we had to assess exactly what their expectations were.”

For Mannix, the biggest challenge was coordinating the shipping and receipt of the 15,000-plus samples handed out during the four-week event. “It was critical that we set up how the sponsors' samples were going to get to each market before the tour occurred,” Mannix said. “It was definitely the biggest.phpect of the program. Live interaction with consumers was vital to each sponsor, so the samples had to be there.” Prior to launching the tour, LeadDog had all the samples—everything from Aveeno SPF 45 lotion packets to Nexxus Salon Hair Care mini shampoos and conditioners—shrink-wrapped and shipped to each market.

To achieve a consistent look from city to city, Mannix had a traveling team of four people on hand at each event. Local vendors with whom LeadDog has worked in the past (and trusts) in all four markets helped with everything from setting up, breaking down, securing portable toilets, and providing security, staffing, and more. National trucking company Shomotion drove a 48-foot-long truck packed full of the event decor from one city to the next.

Workout in the Park added Miami to its roster of cities for the first time this year, and the beachfront Lummus Park location proved to be difficult terrain. “Setting up an event on the sand presents challenges in terms of staking things down and securing items, as well as the ease of access for consumers,” Mannix said. “We could potentially look at a new location next year, but a big part of the Miami event's appeal was that the workout was being held on the beach.”

Courtney Thompson

Photos: Bill McGeary Photography (New York), courtesy of Self (Miami, San Diego, Chicago)

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