GroundFloor Media Makes a Splash with the USA Swimming Foundation
GroundFloor Media (GFM) was engaged by the USA Swimming Foundation to promote Make a Splash, a national child-focused water safety initiative. Specifically, GFM’s strategic communications team was tasked with garnering traditional and non-traditional media coverage for the national Make a Splash tour, featuring Olympian Cullen Jones and presented by ConocoPhillips. The plan was to visit six cities to educate parents and children, especially those within the Hispanic and African-American communities, about the life-or-death issue of learning how to swim and general safety tips in and around the water. Cullen nearly drowned as a child, making him a passionate advocate for the cause.
GFM’s overarching communications goals were to build awareness for water safety through the national media, as well as through the local media in the six Make a Splash tour cities: Albuquerque, N.M., Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Oklahoma City, Portland, Ore., San Antonio and St. Louis. Both mainstream and minority media would be targeted, in order to reach children and parents from ethnically diverse communities, which generally have a higher drowning rate among youth. It was also imperative for GFM to ensure ConocoPhillips was recognized as a brand partner.
The GFM team launched the initiative in May – to coincide with Memorial Day weekend when community pools were beginning to open for the summer – with a Satellite Media Tour that was planned and executed in less than two weeks. Simultaneously, GFM conducted targeted outreach to national and Hispanic mom blogs, asking them to help promote the importance of teaching children how to swim. GFM also developed an article entitled, “A safe summer starts with proper water safety for children” that was distributed in both English and Spanish through a national news service.
The next phase of the initiative involved kicking off the six-city Make a Splash tour featuring swim clinics led by Cullen. GFM worked with the USA Swimming Foundation to announce the 2011 tour stops and ConocoPhillips’ involvement via a national press release. GFM tapped one of its PRGN partner agency partners to spearhead minority outreach both nationally and in each of the local markets. In support of the tour, GFM developed extensive collateral such as key messages, fact sheets, local media advisories and press releases, and was onsite in every tour city to arrange and manage print/broadcast interviews and photo shoots. All of these efforts were supported by extensive social media activity, which involved posting updates and photos to Facebook and Twitter, and engaging with the public through these online networks.
When assessing the PR results, it would be fair to say that GFM blew it out of the water, exceeding the program goals set forth by ConocoPhillips and the USA Swimming Foundation – and accomplished it all in less than six months. The GFM team secured 1,366 media placements in a range of national and local media outlets such as Café Mom, St. Louis Dispatch, WTVJ NBC Orlando and KRQE CBS/FOX Albuquerque, reaching an audience of 39,051,380 (goal was 30 million). Coverage in outlets such as La Opinion, the country’s largest Spanish daily newspaper, as well as the Mama Latino Tips blog, helped the team reach the minority community with an important message and call to action. Social media impressions topped 640,000, and included a 77 percent increase in fans on the Make a Slash Facebook page and more than 300 tweets featuring #makeasplash. More than 98 percent of the articles mentioned ConocoPhillips, which surpassed the sponsor’s goal of 80 percent.