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Volume 23 No. 13
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USA Swimming signs Nexcare as SwimJitsu presenter

USA Swimming has signed 3M’s Nexcare bandages brand as the first presenting sponsor of SwimJitsu, its traveling in-water obstacle course that member swim clubs use to recruit, raise funds and promote the sport.

Nexcare will also become an official supplier to the governing body, its second tier of corporate partnerships, and will launch an extensive sampling program at USA Swimming events. It’s the first Olympic governing body deal for 3M, which had been a worldwide Olympics rights holder in the late 1980s. Terms were not disclosed.

USA Swimming’s marketing department created the SwimJitsu concept in 2015 with an eight-city tour. Featuring inflatable obstacles and a series of basic swimming skills challenges, it’s since generated intense demand, and organizers think the 2017 tour will hit at least 40 stops. They’ve averaged about 380 participants a stop, USA Swimming marketing director Jim Fox said.

“Brand awareness is big for Nexcare, so getting a waterproof bandage to people who are around pools a lot is a good connection,” Fox said.

Nexcare will also sponsor a new digital content series USA Swimming will create at the SwimJitsu stops, a hashtag campaign called #FaceplantFridays. It’s designed to entertain and signal to young swimmers that it’s OK to fall, and also to help Nexcare reach what Fox called “resilient parents,” or parents who encourage their children to push the envelope.

The connection was first made by Minneapolis ad agency Colle & McVoy, which had done work for USA Swimming’s Swim Today campaign and also works for 3M Nexcare. Both Nexcare and USA Swimming suggested the supplier-level deal could develop into a more extensive partnership. Above the supplier level, USA Swimming’s top tier of sponsors includes BMW, Marriott, Speedo, Tyr and others.

“It’s an ideal venue for sampling our waterproof products, which is a core focus for us,” said Martha Bennett, global business director of 3M’s consumer health care division. “We’re looking at this as the start of a longer-term partnership that we can build on over the next several years.”