"Because much of the documentary centers around Puffy's training for the race, it presents a natural opportunity to a brand like Nike for contextual product integration," said Doug Scott, a private branded-entertainment consultant, who Combs brought on a couple months ago to be executive director of the program. Scott was previously a senior executive at Hypnotic and the architect of the Chrysler Million-Dollar Film Festival.
"Diddy Runs the City," the name of the MTV show as well as the overall initiative, will air in two installments, the first on Oct.30, prior to the Nov. 2 marathon, and the second Nov.8. Combs's goal is to raise at least a $1 million through corporate and individual donations.
According to Scott, there will be segments in the MTV broadcast that shows Combs training with three-time New York City Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, whom Nike provided to put Combs through the paces for the big race. He is shown travelling to Nike's Oregon headquarters to get outfitted and tested for stamina, weight and diet.
And because the hip-hop impresario is watching what he eats for the event, there will also be a segment in the show where McDonald's delivers salads to his office. This dovetails with the anti-obesity strategy that the Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast-feeder and its competitors are increasingly adopting.
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% Pepsi's Aquafina water brand is also integrated as an element in Combs' training regimen.
Other major sponsors include Microsoft's Xbox, Foot Locker and Pinnacle Vitamins. The total estimated marketing investment for all the sponsors is $250,000. The brands' investments will also allow them to activate their individual integrated marketing campaigns around the association via retail point-of-sale, outdoor, online and at cheering stations along the marathon route.
In addition, the sponsors are also making donations to the healthcare and education-related charities for which Combs is running: Children's Hope Foundation, New York City Public Schools and Daddy's House Social Programs.
"[Puffy's] kids are the most important things in his life," said Phil Robinson, Combs's manager. "But there are a lot of children whose parents love them just as much but don't have the means to be able to even take them to the doctor to take care of a cough."