I recently read this New York Times article about the SwimToday Campaign, a campaign to increase awareness and participation for the sport of swimming among youth. As a D-1 swimmer studying promotions and advertising, I couldn’t not blog about it! First of all, I love the idea of an ad campaign to grow the sport of swimming. It’s really a beautiful thing because it’s a sport that lacks the attention it deserves and still can’t compete with youth sports like football, baseball and soccer. Industry giants Speedo, TYR and Arena are all backing the campaign. It is nice to see these companies, which are usually busy vying for swimmers’ business, teaming up for this cause. USA Swimming has branded the campaign with the appropriately childlike hashtag #funnestsport to encourage swimmers everywhere to share their cherished experiences in the sport of swimming. The campaign caught on quickly and swimmers from summer league, club, high school, college and masters swimming programs started sharing their stories.
Even Olympians like Ryan Lochte and Breeja Larson joined in on the hashtag.
However… I must admit, swimming IS fun, but cannonballs are a tad bit misleading. In an excerpt from the NYT article, the chief marketing officer of USA Swimming Matt Farrell says, “If a kid joins our sport duped by the campaign thinking it’s all cannonballs, laughs and giggles they will find themselves on the soccer field much quicker…But if they give it a shot, hang with it for a few months and experience the culture of the sport, then I like our chances against any sport out there.”
And I completely agree. #funnestsport
Update: Some swimmers do find ways to sneak in a cannonball or two…