CAMPAIGNS: Event Marketing

Ever want to immerse yourself in the ocean with an oxygen tank strapped to your back? Well, 75 million Americans say they do - or they’d at least like to learn more about scuba diving. That’s why the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) hired Formula PR to reach these potential divers.

Ever want to immerse yourself in the ocean with an oxygen tank strapped to your back? Well, 75 million Americans say they do - or they’d at least like to learn more about scuba diving. That’s why the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) hired Formula PR to reach these potential divers.

Ever want to immerse yourself in the ocean with an oxygen tank

strapped to your back? Well, 75 million Americans say they do - or

they’d at least like to learn more about scuba diving. That’s why the

Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) hired Formula PR to

reach these potential divers.





Strategy



Formula decided the best way to get people excited about scuba diving

was to get them scuba diving - to interest people in dipping into their

local waters on a regular basis. Formula believed that creating a

national network of diving clubs would increase interest from both

inactive divers and new recruits.



The agency decided to name the clubs the HammerHeads, as in the

sharks.



Over the course of two months, ’Head Hammers’ (leaders of the groups)

were recruited in 14 cities such as Denver, Detroit, Houston, Virginia

Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago to establish chapters and

sign up members.



Formula also developed the idea of a National Dive-In Day throughout the

country (and with some international participants). By rallying the

newly established HammerHeads network, Formula proposed to set a world’s

record for the largest group dive. The PR team hoped that this

large-scale event would provide a cause for divers and an exciting story

for the media.





Tactics



Formula relied on press kits, news releases and media alerts to get out

the HammerHeads message. The kit included a listing of the Head Hammers,

possible scuba diving story lines and the HammerHeads credo (e.g., ’Thou

shall encourage diving to thy fellow neighbor,’ ’Thou shall not chew on

reef’).



The program started when June was declared National Scuba Month and the

Dive-In Day was scheduled for June 19. ’We did a majority of the

national media relations three months out to ensure that we made the

consumer pubs during the month of June,’ says Michael A. Olguin, Formula

president.



’The extensive regionalized media relations took place one month out

through the day of the dive.’



Over 1,000 divers entered waters all over the world at 11 am EST in 20

locations. The Cayman Islands took the opportunity to turn the event

into a party and had over 300 divers show up. And two firemen from

Arizona drove all night to make the San Diego Dive-In, where they had

their first-ever ocean dive. The Japanese divers sent photos to prove

they took part in the world-record attempt.



But all did not go smoothly on the big day. A Formula staffer who was

attending the Ft. Lauderdale event woke up to hurricane force winds and

rain. She managed to put up the sign advertising the dive that morning,

but didn’t actually think anyone would show. To her surprise, four brave

souls arrived to jump out of their cars and into the water.



The numbers for the dive were recorded and the results were submitted to

the Guinness Book of World Records. ’We have yet to hear back from them,

but I’m sure we reached our goal,’ says Jody Schneider, Formula senior

account supervisor.





Results



National Dive-In Day coverage included the Christian Science Monitor,

Los Angeles Times, Skin Diver. Broadcast coverage included CBS radio

from Houston, a live morning broadcast by KFMB in San Diego and a

segment on Entertainment Tonight with host Mark Steines hosting the Los

Angeles Dive-In and featuring underwater footage.



’The diving industry has never seen anything like this before,’ says

DEMA executive director Regina Franklin. ’We really made an impact and

are thrilled with the results. People are talking about diving

again.’





Future



Formula will handle the HammerHeads program for the year 2000. The

agency wants to establish 25 to 50 additional chapters and produce a

VNR.



Formula staffers have another agenda, too: they’re all getting their

diving certification together this year.



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