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.
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
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.
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
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
’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
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
Formula will handle the HammerHeads program for the year 2000. The
agency wants to establish 25 to 50 additional chapters and produce a
Formula staffers have another agenda, too: they’re all getting their
diving certification together this year.