Mass Media Exposure for the SCUBA Industry

Over a year ago, I mentioned how Sea Hunt was available on Hulu. Back then, I lamented:

we havenโ€™t seen any type of underwater television series since 1996, almost 15 years.

I’ve since had the discussion several times wishing there would be some great exposure for SCUBA in the mass media.

Fast forward a year, and let’s take a look at the options available and right around the corner.

Into the Drink

From their web site, they describe the show:

Into the Drink is a travel show like no other, taking viewers beyond the tourist map, and into the unknown.

Unfortunately, the biggest unknown is how to watch it. Sure, they’ve finally made it onto a few more networks, but there’s no online options to watch. It’s not on Hulu, you can’t buy it on iTunes and the one episode they make available to watch online, they want you to hand over your contact info before you can watch (here’s the direct, non-registration video if you want to watch it).

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/15859311[/vimeo]

But PADI got behind this one, they’re an official Partner, the only certification agency partner too. They even have a spiffy commercial promoting it.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/12938812[/vimeo]

I don’t know what their internal metrics are for success, but this is a flop to me because I CAN’T WATCH IT. I don’t have cable (I joined the half a million people in the last QUARTER who dropped cable in the US), but I’d be willing to pay to watch this show via iTunes if they’d let me.

Drop Zone Dive In

According to their web site, Drop Zone Dive In is:

an innovative program created to inspire members of Generation X and Y to scuba dive

Great, so no question about it, this is designed to get people into diving. I like it. Again, PADI (my peeps) are behind this one along with Body Glove, Sport Diver (the PADI magazine, so pretty much PADI again) and Transworld Surf (a magazine from Bonnier, the same people who put out Sport Diver).

I’ll be watching the new movie in a couple of days down at DEMA and I’m looking forward to it. The last one was fun and exciting and seems to portray SCUBA more as an adventure sport and less as the super safe, almost boring activity we try to portray it as to get people into diving.

And here’s the rub: it’s a movie. And it costs $150 per year to be part of the program. Distribution? If you want to see it, hope your local SCUBA or surf shop became a program member and invites you to attend a screening.

If I were a dive shop owner, of course I’d buy it and promote it, but as an independent instructor who knows how to do my own marketing without their “program benefits”, I’d rather just pay them $20 for the DVD so I can watch it and share it with my friends. But no go.

I find it funny also that they have social media badges on the bottom right of their home page. It’s funny because their Facebook Page only has gained 125 people in over a year and the last time they officially posted was a year ago this week. I know this is a technicality since Francey is actually posting on behalf of Drop Zone, but why not set her as a page administrator? Their Twitter account has 10 followers and hasn’t been updated in a year. The YouTube badge doesn’t even link to anywhere.

Here’s the trailer if you want to check it out:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqbpcIh3M-M[/youtube]

Sanctum

If you haven’t seen or heard about this one, you’re not a diver ๐Ÿ™‚

From Universal Pictures:

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum, from executive producer James Cameron, follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth.

Yeah. Universal. 3D. James Cameron. Think many people will see it? I do. Think many people will want to try cave diving as a result? I do. Does it take much training to get to the point to even BEGIN cave diving? Sure does. Of the three, this is the one in my opinion that will do the best for the dive industry. I’m sure PADI thought the same thing…

Sanctum SSI
:59 seconds into the trailer

Oops. That looks like an SSI wet suit. Well, maybe they change suits a lot in the movie.

Now, the co-script writer is a PADI Master Instructor, so perhaps we’ll see some PADI-related talk in the movie, but I’m not seeing any in the trailer.

Check out the trailer, it’s well worth the watch:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgW7L2uq2VM[/youtube]

My Thoughts

Both Drop Zone Dive In and Into the Drink could be excellent tools to build interest in SCUBA certifications. They are just missing a few key components (easy viewing options and social media marketing are the big ones) that I think would make both far more successful. I’ll be at DEMA if either of you want to chat ๐Ÿ™‚

As a guy who loves to see any movie with SCUBA gear in it, you can bet I’ll be in line to see Sanctum opening day and I’ll be interested to see what equipment, what training and any agencies they mention by name.

Your Take

What do you think? Will any of these help the dive industry? Or are you just excited to see another Cameron 3D?

Photo via Arno Gourdol

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