The 19.7km Rottnest Channel Swim is one of the largest and most iconic mass-participation long distance open water swimming events in Australia – attracting 6500 participants, skippers, paddlers and support crew. It sells out within minutes every year and, as an endurance event conducted in the open ocean, the event has unique PR challenges and opportunities.
The Hunter team played an integral part in many components of the event on Saturday 23 February – the culmination of six months of preparation, issues and crisis planning, media generation and media liaison. The communications support required by the Rottnest Channel Swim Association was comprehensive, with the full scope including:
Pre- and post-event media management, pitching and liaison
Development of an issues and crisis communications plan
Copywriting, proof reading and sub-editing of the annual year book
Publicity generation for the elite Champions of the Channel component of the event
Event-day media management, including on the official media boat
Scripting (inc. sponsor messaging) for event day announcers and MCs and on-the-day support
Liaison with AV contractor over announcer schedules, interviews and content
Event day social media management
Event day issues and crisis management (if required)
Post-event day issues and crisis management (if required)
Hunter Communications implemented several key strategies, many of which had never been undertaken at the event before. These included the development and management of an online media gallery where results, professional images and images of the first finishers were made available to media within minutes of key milestone moments, and the development of an online media accreditation process.
On event day Hunter advised the Rottnest Channel Swim Association committee during several issues including multiple shark sightings and swimmers in distress - the issues and crisis plan we developed proving successful during the event.
Hunter achieved great media coverage pre-event, event day and post event. Locally, all major media outlets featured the event, many with multiple stories, while national and international coverage was also secured.
Hunter is thrilled to be associated with such an iconic Australian event and we look forward to supporting the Rottnest Channel Swim Association again for its 30th event in 2020.