Brandon Coats had a new idea for his boss when he was hired as retail marketing planner for Renewal by Andersen Window Replacement. He wanted to publicize the company by sponsoring runners in area races.
His boss was skeptical at first, but agreed anyway.
"I don't think anyone else does this kind of stuff," Coats said.
Coats, 36, of Livonia, joined the company a year and a half ago. He said he has sponsored runners in 18 races and expects it to be more than 20 by the end of the year.
Sponsoring runners is a more interactive way of getting people to notice the company rather than being at a booth, he said.
He designed the running shirts with the company's logo, which on the back say "Like my shirt? After the race, I'll let you see the front."
"It's brand awareness," he said. "My job is to be anywhere where people are interested in windows."
Getting the Word Out
He started a Facebook page to get the word out, which has more than tripled in "likes" since it started.
"I'm always looking to see what races are out there," he said.
He said he likes to register his runners a week to two weeks before the run. Sometimes he will do a contest or drawing to pick the runners, he said, or he will pick the first five people who sign up.
Right now he is doing a contest to pick runners who will dress as pirates for the Wicked Halloween Run, which will be the first of his sponsored races that he will run. The run is set for Oct. 28 in Plymouth.
Reasons for Running
"It's kind of really nice, wrapping a passion into a career," he said.
Coats started running in high school, but lost the motivation. He picked it up when his doctor told him he had high cholesterol. Not wanting to take a risk especially with a family history of heart disease, Coats started jogging.
He said he runs at 5 a.m. every morning, even though his wife, Molly, says he is crazy. His children -- Ethan, 5, and Audrey, 2 -- may be future runners, he said. Ethan has already run part of a race.
Coats said he thinks he could get more involved next year, possibly having an athletic store partner for sponsorships.
He said he likes participating with the local races because they support local causes.
"Most of them have charities tied to what they do," he said.
One of those was the First Annual Run for Ribbons 5K in September in downtown Plymouth. There were 500 runners who participated to raise funds for buying booklets on preventing child abuse for every fifth grader in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
Coats said next year he is planning a Renewal by Andersen 5K that will be tied to a charity.
"I'll have my own race!" he said with excitement.
Coats said it's amazing to see people's interest in his idea considering how much skepticism there was at the start.