How Runningboards Marketing Helped Orangetheory Fitness Franchisee Vanessa Fuleihan Spread the Word About Her Business

The advertising franchise brand offers a fun way for businesses to spread the word in their markets.

Digital mobile advertising brand Runningboards Marketing has been making waves since its January, 2018 founding in Watertown, New York by president and co-founder Calvin McNeely and VP and co-founder Zach Yelle. Indeed, the word is quickly spreading throughout the Empire State, with one Orangetheory Fitness franchisee benefiting greatly from the brand’s unique marketing method.

Runningboards Marketing uses the digital advertising vehicle DAV®, pronounced “Dave,” which is equipped with high-impact LED screens to display brand messaging and customizable graphics. DAV drives around specific markets so that geo-targeted audiences will have a chance to catch sight of DAV’s displays—and thus receive messaging tailored to their needs, interests and consumer behavior.

Bottom line: DAV is bold. DAV is dramatic. And most importantly, DAV is almost impossible to miss. His graphics can be updated from anywhere and are timed depending on what packaging plan a client decides to purchase.

This all works out quite nicely for Orangetheory Fitness franchisee Vanessa Fuleihan. Fuleihan owns two franchises with the heart-rate based and interval training boutique fitness brand in Upstate New York. Her Orangetheory of Syracuse location opened in May 2017 and her Orangetheory of Syracuse-Clay location opened in July of 2018. She is in the process of opening a third Orangetheory Fitness franchise in Ithaca.

Fuleihan first learned about Runningboards Marketing a year ago, just as the newly-founded brand was starting to put things in motion. A Runningboards Marketing salesperson who was working with McNeely approached Fuleihan to see if she needed new marketing solutions for her Orangetheory franchising enterprise. As a veteran business owner, Fuleihan is always eager to find creative ways to promote and grow her business—in particular, digital mobile advertising options.

“The concept intrigued me, and I’m always willing to give something a try once,” Fuleihan said. “When it comes to marketing and advertising, there is so much out there that we can do. Ultimately, though, it’s a matter of what works for Orangetheory Fitness and for our community. I signed on with Runningboards Marketing.”

Now, several days a week, an attention-grabbing DAV drives the streets spreading the word about Fuleihan’s Orangetheory businesses, especially during peak times such as rush hour. Thanks to such visibility, DAV and Runningboards Marketing give Fuleihan and her business an edge in a tough climate.

“I’m in the customer service business and my team is in Syracuse, which is not necessarily a city where people pour through your doors,” Fuleihan said. “You have to work for your business. DAV helps us focus on our community and on customer service.”

Fuleihan and her team will often ask new customers how they heard about her Orangetheory Fitness locations. Guests point to billboards, Facebook posts, friend recommendations and seeing DAV’s energetic digital mobile advertising around town. Because branding in 2019 is all about cutting through the noise to keep one’s business top of mind, to Fuleihan, hearing this means that advertising with DAV is a worthy investment for her business.

“With Orangetheory Fitness, we like to say that you need to get in front of someone seven times before they will commit to coming into your location,” Fuleihan said. “Customers have told us ‘I saw the Runningboards Marketing billboard,’ and that alone is very exciting to us.”

Fuleihan plans to continue her relationship with Runningboards. Today, Fuleihan is focused on putting her local Orangetheory customers on DAV’s screens to help generate social media buzz. She also plans to use DAV to help with fundraising efforts for the non-profit Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, a cause her two locations have raised funds for in the past.

“We just signed on for another year,” she said. “The Runningboards Marketing team is amazing and super helpful. They are always willing to do what works for us. They stay on top of the images used and are really flexible with whatever I’m looking for in terms of ground to cover.”

Fuleihan also said that the personality of the Runningboards Marketing team has made a major impact on her.

“The team is also just so great and personable,” Fuleihan said. “This is not just a vendor-to-vendor relationship. Runningboards Marketing does a fantastic job of building that sense of community and relationships with the people they work with.”

The appreciation goes both ways, as Runningboards Marketing has greatly enjoyed working with Fuleihan.

“It’s been a fun relationship,” McNeely said. “It’s created quite a buzz about Orangetheory on social media throughout the Syracuse area. We’re getting right out there where the people are and helping Orangetheory Fitness get out there. DAV is fun and bright and people get excited when they see him for the first time.”

The brand has further plans to make waves in the region and specifically plans to expand its footprint in the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Runningboards Marketing wants to expand close to its Watertown roots in order to provide franchisees with as much support as possible.

“At Runningboards Marketing, we believe that the North Country is a place of opportunity, a place of growth,” McNeely said. “We show up every day, not to simply get advertising dollars, but to inspire and motivate businesses to grow. We’ve found a like-minded person in Vanessa  of Orangetheory Fitness – Syracuse-Clay and Orangetheory Fitness – Syracuse. Her focus is to help others transform their bodies, grow their self-image and live from the belief that they can accomplish anything with the right mindset and hard work.”

While Runningboards Marketing has tremendous growth goals in mind, especially throughout New York state, the brand is far from losing sight of its people-first philosophy.

“Our customers are more than financial transactions—they’re people,” McNeely said. “And to help the North Country grow, we’ve got to show that our community’s success is our success.” – Cristina Merrill

To learn more about franchising with Runningboards Marketing, visit

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