TV, digital ad campaign touts benefits of swimming for kids
Ten industry partners, including USA Swimming, are collaborating on a summer-long campaign called SwimToday, led by five-time Olympian and 12-time medalist Dara Torres. The campaign proclaims swimming as “the funnest sport there is” and showcases its many benefits in an effort to bring more kids who know how to swim into the sport of swimming.
According to the 2014 State of the Competitive & Fitness Swimming Industry Report by Sports Marketing Surveys, the exclusive research provider to the Sports & Fitness Industry Assn., nearly 80% of parents overlook swimming when choosing organized sports activities for their children after they learn to swim. Most notably, parents whose children had never tried swimming perceived it to be less fun than other sports. However, parents of swimmers rated the sport at the top in fun, teamwork, confidence-building and health and fitness once they gave it a try.
The campaign is endorsed and supported by 10 swimming industry partners, including membership organizations, coaches associations, swimsuit and equipment manufacturers, swimming media and technology partners. The “Funnest Sport” campaign also will address common misconceptions about the sport, encouraging more parents to consider swimming as a youth sport option for their children.
Torres, a lifelong swimmer, entered her first international swimming competition at age 14, and in 2008 became the oldest swimmer to compete in an Olympic Games. Now a “swim mom” herself, she cheers her daughter on at swim practice and understands the challenges parents face as they make decisions about how their children will spend their time. “I started swimming as a kid and it gave me skills I’ve used throughout my life,” Torres said. “Now I have an eight-year-old daughter who is on a swim team and loves it. I see her benefitting from the same things I did, and I want other moms to know how much fun it can be and what a lifelong gift it is for our kids.”
To address the common misconceptions and bridge the perception gap, SwimToday includes a creative advertising campaign by Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy highlighting the fun aspects of swimming, and, with playful imagery and taglines, conveys the benefits of swimming compared to other sports. The campaign also features public service announcements  that will run nationally on television and online beginning May 6, as well as a new website, www.swimtoday.org , which provides online resources for parents.
While touting the fun of swimming, SwimToday also provides online tools for parents to help locate swim clubs and local pools in their communities. Many parents commonly report lack of access to a nearby pool, while research shows that 82% of households actually have a pool within 10 minutes of their residences.