|Open water swimming has been growing in popularity in recent years, a trend accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. As lakes began to re-open after lockdown restrictions in 2021, there was no better time to invite media and influencers to put on wetsuits, jump in and enjoy a Zone3 open water swimming experience.|
Celebrating the joy of the open water
Zone3 is highly regarded for its swim and triathlon kit. The brand’s popularity has been gaining momentum in the mainstream and the performance of its swim gear is recognised by novice swimmers and elite athletes alike.
Zone3 asked Aspire to build on its previous PR activities for the brand and capitalise on a surge in interest in open water swimming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We were tasked with curating an open water swimming themed event to introduce, embrace and celebrate the joy of open water swimming.
The event would be aimed mainly at beginners, providing safety tips and swim techniques, and spread the message of the positive health benefits of open water swimming.
The ultimate goal was to provide a positive brand experience that would inspire our guests to ‘Embrace the Escape’ and continue their wild swimming journey after the event.
“Had such a good morning swimming in Shepperton Lake and meeting @linford_christie with @zone3official”
Introducing Zone3 to new audiences
We began by targeting media and influencers who were new to open water swimming as well as more experienced swimmers to reinforce the brand’s support for all levels of outdoor swimmer.
To offer credibility and boost the event’s profile we secured a lead media partner, Outdoor Swimmer magazine, and a lead ambassador – Olympic Gold Medallist, Linford Christie OBE, who embraced open water swimming later in life.
We also wanted to inspire new and diverse audiences and invited the Swim Dem Crew, an inner-city swim group focused on the power of community.
For the venue, we chose Shepperton Open Water Swim. Zone3 has a strong relationship with the venue and the popular open water swimming spot is a perfect location for guests to enjoy a memorable morning, both in and out of the water.
Watch the highlights of Embrace the Escape
Talking openly about outdoor swimming
We began by creating event collateral including the invitation which was sent out to target media and influencers.
On the day we set up Shepperton Lakes with welcoming spaces for a coffee van, a media area with press packs and an interview zone. We captured photography and video throughout the event for Zone3 to use across its media channels.
Attendees had the opportunity to experience open water swimming with Linford Christie and get tips and techniques for swimming safely. Swimmers wore Zone3 wetsuits to give confidence in the water and get a hands-on experience of the brand.
The interview with Linford Christie was the centrepiece. Linford talked openly about getting older, exercising for mental health benefits and being a latecomer to swimming. The interview helped to provide rich, source content for media and social coverage.
Post-event, we wanted guests to have solid, insightful and useful takeaways to convey the message that Zone3 and open water swimming are accessible and inclusive for all. To support this aim, we created a ‘beginner’s guide’ endorsed by the Royal Life Saving Society. Zone3 could also share the guide across channels and pitch to the wider media.
Causing big media ripples
estimated monthly visits
pieces of media and social coverage
Inspiring swimmers all over the UK
‘Embrace the Escape’ was a big success. We had 11 media and 7 influencers attending that generated 52 social mentions on the day.
The interview with Linford Christie produced a cover feature for Outdoor Swimmer and a host of articles throughout the UK, including Glorious Sport, IndyLife, Yorkshire Post, MSN, Belfast Telegraph, Manchester Express and Star and lots more regional press titles.
The event produced 36 pieces of coverage with an estimated 964,311,000 monthly visits, 731,000 coverage views and a circulation of 434,000.
There was a lot of event-day commentary in the media reflecting the key messages of inclusivity, physical and mental wellbeing and connecting with nature. The event further cemented Zone3 as a go-to authority in the open water swimming space.
What really shone through was that many of our guests left inspired to begin their own open water journeys. Like the broadcaster Charlie Webster who told us: “It’s definitely inspired me to get my swim back on. It was lovely to hear Linford’s tales, he is one remarkable man!”.
Find out more about Zone3.