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RVIA Survey: ‘Ambassadors’ A Hit with Consumers

May 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

"Back in the Saddle Again" TV spot for Go RVing garners 82% approval rating.

"Back in the Saddle Again" TV spot for Go RVing garners 82% approval rating.

A survey of consumers conducted by Go RVing found that the new Ambassadors of Affordability television commercials are very well-liked and effectively communicate the message that RV vacations are a cost-effective way to spend time with family and friends, according to the current issue of RVIA Today Express.

In order to obtain a preliminary sense of the general reaction to the new campaign, Go RVing emailed a questionnaire to a random sample from its leads database in April, asking questions to gauge the ads’ likeability as well as the clarity and impact of their message. A total of 242 consumers returned the survey for a margin of error of 6 percent.

All four ad spots were very well-liked.

The survey had these findings:

  • The cornerstone “Back in the Saddle Again” spot — featuring all the animal ambassadors singing the classic Gene Autry western ballad — was the most popular with 82% of consumers reporting that they liked the commercial.
  • The “Turtles” spot, which features several turtles in a campground pond who wish the shells on their backs could be as comfortable as RVs, scored a close second in popularity, with 80% of consumers reporting that they liked the ad.
  • 75% of consumers liked the “Rabbits” commercial, which features a father jackrabbit who is happy to see that an RV can fit his large family comfortably.
  • 70% of consumers liked the “Bison” commercial, which stars a bison and a fox enjoying a romantic escape in their RV.

The top reason consumers gave for liking the commercials is that the spots are “entertaining and funny,” according to just under half of respondents. Nineteen percent reported liking the “Ambassadors” ads better than most other TV commercials.

General consumer comments about the spots included, “It really brought a smile to my face — I can’t wait to go RVing,” and “It is cute and friendly and ‘warm and fuzzy’ and makes you feel that camping with the family in an RV is adventurous and fun.”

When asked about the main message of the ads, consumers reported, “that an RV vacation is affordable — more than many others,” and “It’s a great alternative to more expensive vacationing.” And when asked if the campaign inspired them to go RVing, over half responded “yes,” and added statements like, “it shows people having fun and that is the main idea of RVing.” and “it shows that you can go on a vacation with the family and not spend a ton of money.”

Go RVing brand planner John Baker of The Richards Group said of the survey results, “The spots elicited exactly what we hoped for: they were well liked and got people’s attention, they communicated our key strategic messages extremely well, and they make people want to go RVing. I don’t think we could have asked for better results.”

A major ad effectiveness study will be commissioned this summer to further explore the findings of this poll.

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Final Spot in Go RVing’s TV Ad Series Set to Air

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

NewTurtlesScreenShot_3.31.10Production is complete and the fourth and final ad in the new “Ambassadors of Affordability” series of television commercials for Go RVing is now ready to hit the airwaves, according to a story in the current issue of RVIA Today Express.

The backdrop for this multi-vehicle spot (pictured, left) dubbed “Turtles” is a realistic family campground setting, complete with site markers, hookups and signage, RV pads, a tot lot and a pond surrounded by the four units – a travel trailer, a Class B and Class C motorhome and a folding camping trailer. Set to the tune of “Back in the Saddle Again,” the ad depicts fun and outdoor recreation families can enjoy at campgrounds and RV resorts.

Humorous dialogue among three turtles — a grandfather and two teenagers — centers around how much more “stuff” the RVs can hold in their “shells.” The turtles all prefer to spend the night in a fully-equipped RV. The Go Affordably-themed ad concludes with prominent dialogue and on-screen promotion to get more information by visiting GoRVing.com or an RV dealer. The black bear from the “Back in the Saddle” spot makes a cameo appearance in the new ad, helping to reinforce the Ambassadors campaign recognition.

A taggable version of the “Turtles” ad is also available for participating Go RVing dealers, campgrounds and show promoters to tag with their own information and run on local television. Visit the Industry Only section of www.GoRVing.com to order, or contact mspence@rvia.org to find out how to register for the industry tie-in program.

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270+ Dealers Sign Up for Go RVing Program

March 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

OwlMore than 270 RV dealers are already signed up for the optional 2010 Go RVing Dealer Program, according to the current online edition of RV Executive Today.

Participating companies have access not only to the proven leads database, image library, toolbox, and ad builder on the site, but also new marketing materials drawn from the new national campaign.

Tying in with the launch of Go RVing’s new “Ambassadors of Affordability” television ads, a variety of new advertising and promotion materials are available in the “industry-only” section of the GoRVing.com website to aid dealers and their ad agencies in marketing efforts.

The industry-only section contains downloadable files for large-format artwork of the Ambassadors of Affordability animals (bison, owl, fox, rabbit and bear) that can be created at local print or sign shops and used in displays.

Go RVing is modifying the new TV spots to include a five-second taggable segment that can be personalized for dealer or show use. Broadcast quality b-roll, filmed in Elkhart, Ind., in the summer of 2009, is available for creating local ads featuring the newest and most innovative products.

Also available is a revised looping DVD for show or showroom play that features the new consumer video and the Ambassadors of Affordability ads.

The industry-only section of GoRVing.com contains ordering information for dealers, and order forms will be sent along with Go RVing dealer materials.

Click here to sign up for the Go RVing program.

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‘Back in the Saddle Again,’ Fitting Song for ’10

March 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Gary La Bella

Gary La Bella

Editor’s Note: Gary LaBella, vice president and chief marketing officer of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), shares his thoughts in this letter to RVIA members.

What a difference a year makes! This year – our industry’s centennial year – is off to a strong start with much promising news indicating that the RV market is indeed on the road to recovery. This has sparked a contagious sense of optimism about our future that lies in stark contrast to the doubt and fear of early 2009.

Driving this optimism is the fact that RV wholesale shipments have been trending upward. RV shipments totaled 15,800 units for the month of January – a 116% rise over the January 2009 total of 7,300 units. This marked the sixth consecutive monthly improvement for RV shipments to dealers. With the RV market strengthening, Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers is now predicting that wholesale shipments will total 215,900 units for 2010, a 30% rise over 2009’s year-end total of 165,700 units.

Importantly, stories about the RV industry’s turnaround are appearing in the national media, with The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Fox Business Network and the Associated Press all reporting on the upturn in RV sales.

This coverage echoes themes and storylines promoted by RVIA in our outreach to the media – that the industry is a leading economic indicator with rising shipments boding well for the general economy, that RVing has remained popular with Americans throughout the economic downturn and that RVing offers great value. These are all very powerful messages for potential buyers to hear as we approach the important spring and summer selling season.

Also boosting exposure for RVing in this pivotal time in the industry’s recovery is Go RVing’s “Go Affordably. Go RVing” national advertising campaign for 2010, launched to huge television audiences watching Daytona 500-related programming and the Winter Olympics over the President’s Day weekend. The Vancouver Olympics went on to become the second-most watched Winter Games ever, with a total of 190 million Americans tuning in to all coverage on the networks of NBC Universal. Go RVing ran 105 ad spots during NBC Olympics programming Feb. 13-28.

The Bison

The Bison

Highlighting this year’s efforts are the new “Ambassadors of Affordability” television commercials that feature colorful animal spokespeople (including a bison, fox, bear and jackrabbit) to capture viewer attention, boost awareness and recall. The “Ambassadors” also are featured on the re-launched GoRVing.com that provides a fresh look, updated information and much more interactivity to enhance visitors’ experiences.

The new ads and website are backed by an expansive $8.25 million media plan for 2010 that will reach prospects with a wide variety of interests and media habits through television, print and online advertising. The total media budget is more than double what we were able to spend in 2009, thanks to the improving economy and increases in RV sales. Though still only about half of what we invested in media in 2006 before the recession, this year’s additional media spending will help us do more to help the industry recover from this down period in our history.

The new Go RVing ads and website have been a hit with the industry since they were unveiled at the Outlook 2010 program in Louisville. RVDA Chairman Debbie Brunoforte said, “The Ambassadors of Affordability” campaign is the perfect way to communicate the affordability of RVing. The message is entertaining and memorable. RVing is fun, and so are these ads and the clever new interactive website.”

Initial consumer response to the campaign is also very favorable. Preliminary measures (with only a small fraction of 2010 media running) indicate that the new ads and website are boosting response. Over the launch weekend of Feb. 12-15, GoRVing.com logged over 7,000 visits, up more than a third from the previous weekend when the old TV spots were running. Page views on the new site almost tripled. Perhaps most significantly, the average time spent on the site by a visitor rose to approximately four-and-a-half minutes – 79% more than previously.

This encouraging early data points to the fact that this year’s Go RVing ads, website and media investment will re-energize customers, all the while working in tandem with RVIA’s aggressive public relations efforts to shine the light on the RV industry in this critical time of economic recovery.

And there is even more on tap to boost our exposure. The RV Centennial Celebration, being spearheaded by RVIA, is shaping up to be not only an important media opportunity, but also a way to lift the spirits of our entire industry and kick off our second century on a high note. There are many exciting events and promotions scheduled for this industry-wide, year-long celebration, including:RVIA_Centennial

  • The RV Centennial Media Tour – RVIA spokesperson and RV historian David Woodworth will hit the road for two weeks this spring, traveling to media markets in the Northeast and Midwest to show how RVs have evolved and changed through the years while emphasizing that the reasons for RVing are the same today as they were in 1910.
  • “Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan” – A 100-day tour to RV retail shows and factories by the official Centennial mascot – Charlie, an American stuffed black bear – that will generate enthusiasm among the industry and consumers.
  • RV Centennial Celebration Month – We are designating June as RV Centennial Celebration Month as a focal point for the industry to rally around as the summer vacation season kicks off. We are working to have President Obama and Congress issue proclamations to mark the occasion.
  • The RV Centennial Celebration – RVIA will host an all-industry, 100th anniversary party during our Committee Week & Annual Meeting on June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart. This is going to be an energetic festival, reception and barbecue with a special one-hour program featuring entertaining videos and presentations saluting the RV industry, a cake-cutting ceremony and fireworks display to cap the evening.
  • “A Salute to RV Workers” – A very important theme of the centennial party will be a “Salute to RV Workers” to honor the industry’s hard-working men and women who are the heart and soul of our industry. This will include special recognition of those workers and a video salute from industry leaders. In fact, this important message will be a big part of our year-long celebration so that all our audiences understand that the RV workers have kept the RV industry rolling along for the last 100 years.

The RV Centennial Celebration is going to be a tremendous event for all of us throughout 2010. I urge you to visit www.RVCentennial.org to learn more about the event. It is a clearinghouse of information and treasure trove of free resources to help you incorporate the RV Centennial into your own efforts. We hope you will join us in celebrating the RV Centennial. It is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to demonstrate our strength and to draw positive attention to the industry in the coming year.

Certainly, one of the hallmarks of our industry over the last 100 years is the remarkable resiliency of the RV market. We’ve faced some very hard times before and have always come back stronger than ever. This most recent economic downturn is no different.

Our new Go RVing television ads are set to the classic Western tune of “Back in the Saddle Again.” It is a song of friendship, community and enjoying the great outdoors — perfect for promoting RVing. It is also a very fitting theme song for our industry because as 2010 begins we are saddling up once again, ready to ride toward better days and a brighter future.

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Go RVing Looks to March 1 Internet Site Launch

February 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Beginning on March 1, the 2010 Go RVing online advertising program will launch across major Internet sites and search engines with all-new interactive ads featuring the “Ambassadors of Affordability.”

The three new on-line ads each feature one of the campaign ambassadors making the following points: The owl calls RVs a “a wise buy” and adds that travel “is more fun when you aren’t flying over it.” In another ad, a rabbit touts the family virtues of RVing – “Get closer to family. Get away from it all. Get there for less.” And the final ad features the bison who advises, “Places to go. Things to do. Ways to save. See how fun and affordable an RV vacation can be.”

The Internet is Go RVing’s most cost-efficient source of leads, especially search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Go RVing will also have a presence on proven sites including WeatherBug.com, RandMcNally.com, ShermansTravel.com, Wunderground.com, TheWeatherChannel.com and DogTime.com.

March 1 also marks the kickoff of special Go RVing promotions with cable’s History network and on TiVo. The anticipated cross-platform media partnership with History is an integrated blend of television, print and web exposure that will continue throughout the spring and summer. Go RVing will run TV spots during History’s popular “Modern Marvels” and the new highly rated reality series, “American Pickers;” ads in five issues of History magazine; and custom content in a 32-page pull-n-save Top Ten Destinations guide. On TiVo’s showcase area, new interactive programming offering the popular Go RVing family videos will be featured, along with new promotional banners with the “Ambassadors of Affordability.”

On the heels of the Olympic ad buy, throughout February and March, an additional 454 spots will air during Universal Sports’ programming coverage of World Cup Alpine Skiing, the Track & Field World Championships, American Cup Gymnastics, U.S. Freestyle Ski Cup and more. Go RVing will also have court-side signage during NCAA basketball games televised on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.

Starting March 1 Go RVing’s national television plan intensifies, with the new Ambassadors TV spots running on 30 leading cable networks (including Discovery, TBS, TNT, USA, Food Network, TLC, the Weather Channel and more). This direct response cable advertising buy continues through August.

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Go RVing Dealers May Access New Ad Materials

February 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tying in with the launch of Go RVing’s new “Ambassadors of Affordability” television ads, a variety of new advertising and promotional materials are available in the “industry-only” section of the GoRVing.com website to aid dealers and their ad agencies in marketing efforts, according to an article in the current online edition of RV Executive Today.Fox

Participating companies have access not only to the proven leads database, image library, toolbox and ad builder on the site, but also new marketing materials drawn from the new national campaign.

The industry-only section contains downloadable files for large-format artwork of the Ambassadors of Affordability animals that can be created at local print or sign shops and used in displays.

Go RVing is modifying the new TV spots to include a five-second taggable segment that can be personalized for dealer or show use. Broadcast quality b-roll, filmed in Elkhart, Ind., in the summer of 2009, is available for creating local ads featuring the newest and most innovative products.

Also available is a revised looping DVD for show or showroom play that features the new consumer video and the Ambassadors of Affordability ads.

The industry-only section of GoRVing.com will contain ordering information for dealers and order forms will be sent along with Go RVing dealer materials.

For those who want to venture into no-cost social media marketing, the industry-only section also contains a presentation which walks through the advantages and tells how to create a Facebook fan page or Twitter account to reach out to customers and prospects.

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Charlie’s Caravan Kicks Off RV Centennial

February 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Centennial Charlie.JPGAs America’s RV industry revs up for a year’s worth of celebrations in recognition of its 2010 Centennial, RVIA is sending the Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial – a 34-inch American black bear stuffed animal – on a road trip to honor the people who love RVing and the workers who are the heart and soul of the RV industry.

Starting this month, RV companies and consumer shows participating in “Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan” will host the 2010 RV Centennial mascot for a few days before sending him on to his next stop on the 100-day tour. Centennial Charlie, who is inspired by the bear in Go RVing’s 2010 “Ambassadors of Affordability” ad campaign, will bring the industry’s celebrations to RV enthusiasts and RV employees in a fun, unconventional way.

“Since a central theme of the Centennial Celebration is a ‘Salute to RV Workers,’ we wanted to be sure to reach out to those workers with our Centennial Ambassador,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We in the RV industry know that the hard-working men and women on the factory floors, in the offices and out in the field are the heart and soul of our industry.” On the occasion of its centennial anniversary, the RV industry will thank and honor its workers, whose commitment to creating quality RV products has helped bring American families closer together for a century.

During Charlie’s visits, staff of RV companies and consumer shows will take photos of the bear with RV workers and showgoers and, at the conclusion of Charlie’s journey, RVIA will produce a video chronicle of the mascot’s tour including photographs taken on his travels. The video will be shared with the RV industry at its June 7 celebration at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, and later will be posted on YouTube.

RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella said, “When Charlie comes to visit RVIA member companies and consumer shows, he will be our industry’s ambassador in honoring both its workers and enthusiasts, so they too can celebrate the RV Centennial in a novel, exciting way.”

The American Black Bear is native to North America, and resides throughout most of the United States. An American black bear named “Charlie” appeared in the 2006 – 2009 “What Will You Discover? Go RVing” television commercials. An animated American Black Bear appears in the Go RVing “Ambassadors of Affordability” commercials, set to launch Feb. 12.

Show promoters and RV industry companies interested in hosting Centennial Charlie should contact Bernadette Murphy at RVIA at bmurphy@rvia.org or (703) 620-6003 ext. 310.

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