Best in Community Relations 2017

The campaign built awareness about Goldfish in the community with a minute $14,000 budget.


Approach Marketing and Goldfish Swim School
Goldfish Swim School’s Water Safety Focus Drives Growth in Community

Goldfish Swim School, which relies on word of mouth and PR, is one of several options for central Ohio families looking for swim lessons.

How could a campaign differentiate the school from the rest of the competitive pool? Two words: water safety. Swimming is a life skill, and Goldfish’s core philosophy is to teach kids how to be safe around water all year long.

Approach Marketing found out about a 9-year-old who fell into an icy retention pond while playing with friends and saved himself by using skills he learned at Goldfish.

The agency secured three TV segments on area affiliates, as well as coverage on local blogs and news sites. And the boy and his mother agreed to participate in interviews with Goldfish’s owner.

Partnerships were secured with local family and parent bloggers to act as Goldfish brand ambassadors. The bloggers tried lessons with their kids and posted about their experience. Articles were shared on the bloggers’ social networks, as well as on Goldfish’s channels and in local moms’ Facebook groups.

Bubbles, the official mascot for Goldfish Swim School, became part of 108 water safety presentations at local elementary and preschools. Some 3,600 children received a water safety-themed take-home packet with free family swim passes.

The campaign built awareness about Goldfish in the community with a minute $14,000 budget.

"A tiny budget was maximized in so many ways," one judge wrote. "It shows big money is not always the answer." Goldfish membership increased 75% over the previous year, and Goldfish opened another location.

The campaign is "an A-plus in all ways," another adjudicator noted. "It jumps right into the emotional impact of what is at stake and leverages that to change behavior and build business. Bravo.

Honorable Mention


Four out of five jobs created in the next decade will require science, technology, engineering, or math, yet women make up only 30% of that workforce. Internally, MasterCard discovered there were few volunteer events linked to its business strategy, and none rolled up into a global effort. So it launched Girls4Tech to address both issues. By the end of 2016, MasterCard had reached 11,000 girls in 11 countries. More than 1,000 employees served as mentors. Girls4Tech changed the mindset of participants, with 94% saying they are interested in pursuing STEM careers.

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