INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Aug. 5, 2008 – USA Gymnastics, in a joint effort with the National Gymnastics Foundation, has created the sport’s first-ever national marketing initiative that targets growing the sport’s grassroots base. On Aug. 15, 2008, 3.6 million people will see an ad insert in USA Today that communicates the essence of gymnastics and makes it easy for parents to find a USA Gymnastics member club in their area.
“This is an important landmark initiative for USA Gymnastics,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Gymnastics is a great activity for all youngsters, whether they have Olympic dreams or not, and this effort not only provides national exposure for our sport but also helps parents easily locate a gymnastics club near them.
“The timing is not by accident. Gymnastics is the most watched event during the Olympic Games, and we want to capitalize on the momentum that comes every four years when our top athletes compete on the world’s biggest sports stage.”
This national marketing effort goes beyond the impactful advertising insert, which will be supported by teaser ads in USA Today on Aug. 5 and 12. To support this, USA Gymnastics is launching a targeted Web site, www.beginheregoanywhere.com, where parents can learn the benefits of gymnastics, find answers to common questions, read success stories and easily locate a USA Gymnastics member club in their community. USA Gymnastics member clubs will receive posters, radio PSAs and newspaper ads that may be tailored with their message and placed in conjunction with the USA Today insert to create local and regional impact.
This unprecedented campaign is funded with support from the National Gymnastics Foundation, and the insert is supported by some of USA Gymnastics’ sponsors, AT&T, CoverGirl and Tyson. This nationwide outreach effort is the mingling of recommendations by club owners and an overall marketing initiative that has been discussed over the last several years.
“We believe this is important for the future growth of gymnastics, which is why we decided to help fund the project,” said Bob Wood, chairman of the National Gymnastics Foundation. “Our mission is to help educate people about the benefits of gymnastics and this is a perfect fit.”
The Three-Sixty Group, which developed USA Gymnastics’ logo and the tagline “Begin here. Go Anywhere.,” created the campaign which will debut in USA Today. Using the headlines “Life needs balance” and “Life needs strength,” the campaign visually demonstrates that kids are naturally inclined toward gymnastics as part of human nature through engaging images. A third image is a fun illustration of a gym that identifies the benefits of gymnastics.
“This campaign is an extension of the branding effort we began with USA Gymnastics five years ago with the development of ‘Begin Here. Go Anywhere.’ and the introduction of its current logo,” said David Cranfill, president and co-founder of Three-Sixty Group.
In addition to increasing visibility and participation, the materials highlight gymnastics’ many benefits beyond what participants gain physically. This marketing initiative complements several existing national initiatives: National Gymnastics Day, which is held annually to bring attention to gymnastics and its benefits; and the Tyson Fitness Challenge, which gives kids the opportunity to increase their fitness level and to raise money to help needy children through the Children’s Miracle Network.
“When kids get involved in gymnastics they learn valuable life skills such as strength, focus, self-motivation and confidence,” said Penny. “Gymnastics is a great way for kids to become more physically fit. Gymnastics is a part of our human nature.”
Aug. 15 was selected because it is the women’s all-around finals, the peak day of gymnastics coverage on NBC Sports during the Olympic Games, and the USA’s performances during the team and men’s all-around competitions are expected to have heightened the interest in gymnastics.