Barton Gilanelli: 20 Years as RVIA’s Agency
In 1990, a small, upstart Philadelphia advertising/PR agency, Barton Gilanelli & Associates, contacted the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the $12 billion RV industry’s trade association in Reston, Va., with a bold claim. It guaranteed that it could do a better job at a lower cost than the world’s largest public relations agency that RVIA was using at the time.
That pitch and persistence landed the then-5-year-old Philadelphia agency an opportunity to make a presentation to the association. It went very well.
“We took a chance on a little agency that showed us creative, cost-efficient ways to achieve the industry’s public relations objectives,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer, in a news release. “Over the past 20 years, Barton Gilanelli’s programs have been key in helping the industry change the public’s perception of RVs. Just about any media outlet you can name, from Time to the “Today Show,” has done a positive story about RVs and the RV lifestyle.”
Since 1990, Barton Gilanelli has developed campaigns positioning RVs as a great way to enhance family bonds, an economical means of travel and one of the best ways to explore America. On the solid foundation built by public relations, in 1997 RVIA launched its multimillion- dollar Go RVing advertising program. Today there are more than 30 million RVers.
“It’s been said that great clients help make successful agencies,” said Barton Gilanelli President Frank Gilanelli. “It’s certainly true in this case. Of course, performance is paramount, but without mutual respect and trust, this long association would not have endured.”
2010 also marks another milestone: the centennial of the RV industry. RVIA and Barton Gilanelli are working together to tell the story of this U.S.-founded industry that began 100 years ago. Although the technology and design have dramatically changed, the reason that people RV has remained the same: the desire to see what’s around the next bend.
Barton Gilanelli & Associates was founded in 1985 by Frank Gilanelli and Ronni Barton, who set up shop in a spare room of a three-story house. From that humble beginning, a year later the agency moved into a historic chocolate factory in Old City Philadelphia and now represents national consumer, business-to-business and association clients located around the country.