The RV industry opened the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 51st National RV Trade Show at “Outlook 2014: Everywhere,” an informative, entertaining program that laid out details of the industry’s prospects for 2014 and provided an update on advertising and public relations efforts.
According to a press release, the breakfast event began at 7:30 a.m. this morning (Dec. 3) and was attended by more than 1,000 RV manufacturers, dealers and industry representatives. Following a talk from RVIA President Richard Coon about growth in RV shipments and presentation of the new projection for 2014 shipments, Go RVing co-chairs Bob Wheeler and Tom Stinnett partnered with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst for a multimedia presentation recapping 2013 progress in advertising and public relations.
“Time is at a premium and household finances are being squeezed,” Thompson told the audience. “For many, RVs are an ideal solution that offer the flexibility to get away from the stresses of everyday life and have a great outdoor experience with loved ones – without breaking the budget.”
Thompson presented some of the industry’s media relations highlights, including coverage on TV networks including NBC, ABC, FOX News, FOX Business, and CNBC. He also discussed major print and digital placements, as well as a partnership with local dealerships around the country that resulted in media placements in more than 20 markets.
“There’s the old adage that all politics is local and the same can ring true in PR,” Thompson said. “The impact of local news cannot be overlooked. That’s why we worked with dealers in local markets. Who better to talk about the benefits of RVing than the people who sell them every day?”
Stinnett and Wheeler reported on results from the “AWAY” Go RVing advertising campaign. The pair emphasized the impact of the campaign’s promotional partnerships and the effectiveness of Go RVing leads.
“As the industry surged in 2013, Go RVing’s increased promotional spend over 2012 helped keep the RV lifestyle message everywhere,” Wheeler said. “We continued to work with partners who provided us the opportunity to go beyond traditional advertising so we could stretch our dollars even further.”
Wheeler discussed Go RVing’s successful partnership with the Outdoor Channel on a promotion that saw more than 162,000 entries for a folding camping trailer giveaway, as well as efforts to create RV experiences for more than 15,000 consumers at non-RVing events such as fairs and music festivals.
Stinnett reported that the improved and streamlined Go RVing Leads Plus Program has seen a 35% increase in leads downloads in 2013. In addition, Stinnett presented analysis by Polk research showing that Go RVing leads are actually purchasing RVs at rates higher than marketing industry standards.
Stinnett also revealed a new initiative to maintain Go RVing’s reach year-round. This year, Go RVing launched a tailgating initiative in partnership with Sports Illustrated and ESPN. The initiative included a new TV commercial designed to appeal to sports fans while showcasing the amenities of RVs.
“I don’t know about the rest of you in the room, but at my business, we don’t stop selling product just because September rolls around,” Stinnett said. “And that was the thinking about extending Go RVing’s promotional push later into the selling season – to keep the RV experience fresh in consumers’ minds.”
After a brief appearance by football legend “Mean Joe” Greene and remarks from respected Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King, Ashurst closed the presentation by discussing some of the plans for Go RVing in 2014.
“We plan to elevate our tailgating initiative, and we are currently in discussions with some third party brands to build on what we did with Sports Illustrated, ESPN and CBS Sports,” Ashurst said. “We’re going to expand event efforts in 2014 by sponsoring a huge, multi-day country music festival that draws tens of thousands, and we’ll continue to work with top-tier cable networks like Travel Channel – both in advertising and in working RVs into their programming.”
In addition, Go RVing will create a new AWAY advertising spot that will allow the campaign to evolve the message while reducing creative and production costs.