After a stormy year, an enthusiastic audience of 1,000 cast an optimistic eye to the future of the RV industry at today’s “Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine” kickoff breakfast to the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
Hosted by RVIA Chairman of the Board Jim Sheldon, the popular market expansion showcase featured an industry forecast by RVIA President Richard Coon; engaging tales from the road by Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, hosts of History’s new show, “American Pickers;” the debut of innovative new Go RVing ads set for launch in early 2010; a hilarious appearance by Silvio DiSalvatore, the winner of NBC’s hit reality show “Great American Road Trip;” and a broad perspective on the industry’s history by RV historian and RVIA Spirit of America Award winner David Woodworth. The event concluded with a stirring tribute to the RV industry as it embarks on its 100th year, according to a press release.
In a presentation titled “Radiant, Relevant and Ready,” Coon delivered the latest RV shipment numbers, reporting that 16,600 total units were shipped in October, an increase of 23% over October 2008 shipments. Seasonally adjusted, October shipments hit an annual rate of more than 216,000 units, marking the third consecutive month that annualized shipments topped 200,000 units. Acknowledging that challenges still lie ahead though the worst may be over for the RV industry, Coon said, “RVs are woven into the fabric of America. Americans love RVing, they love our products and how they enrich their lives, allowing them to spend time in the great outdoors with loved ones.”
Go RVing Co-Chairmen Dicky Riegel and Tom Stinnett then took the stage with RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella for Go RVing: “Spreading Sunshine in ’09 and Beyond.” The two reported that, on a dramatically reduced budget, the industry ad campaign still secured a half-billion consumer impressions in 2009, resulting in approximately 100,000 new leads.
The industry coalition then debuted four new television ads developed by Go RVing’s ad agency, The Richards Group, and set for launch in February.
The animated television commercials keep the “Go Affordably, Go RVing” theme while introducing the new “Ambassadors of Affordability” – animals from the popular “What Will You Discover” print ads animated with voices and cutting-edge special effects.
The cornerstone of the campaign is a spot featuring the animal ambassadors singing the classic Western ballad, “Back in the Saddle Again,” in a lush forest setting. Starring a bison, bear and fox with a full supporting cast of animals big and small, the spot concludes with the tagline, “It’s amazing how affordable an RV vacation can be. Visit GoRVing.com for a free video. Go Affordably. Go RVing,” while on-screen signage includes a call-to-action to “visit an RV dealer” and GoRVing.com.
Wolfe and Fritz, hosts of the new show “American Pickers,” then took the stage to assist in introducing Go RVing’s cross-platform media buy on the History network that will be a key part of next year’s ad campaign. The duo regaled attendees with engaging tales of their travels through America’s heartland in search of valuable antiques that have been hidden away and neglected – often buried at the back of someone’s beat-up barn in the middle of nowhere.
In RVIA Public Relations: “Keeping Our Image Bright,” Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella discussed how RVIA’s PR team helped keep RVing’s reputation untarnished during a particularly gloomy news environment by emphasizing to the media that RVing is an affordable way for stressed families to reconnect. Thompson added that the affordability message will continue to resonate with post-recession consumers, and the two outlined five key post-recession trends: simplicity, discretionary thrift, mercurial consumption, instantaneous influence, and living green. LaBella and Thompson stressed that an awareness of these new spending behaviors will ensure that the RV industry has the opportunity to bring new people into the market who may not have considered RVing in the past.
DiSalvatore, winner of NBC’s hit reality show “Great American Road Trip,” added some levity to the event as he entertained Outlook attendees with a humorous take on his family’s RV adventures while filming the popular reality show. A favorite contestant among the show’s 33 million fans, DiSalvatore’s Yonkers, N.Y., charm was on display as he delivered a message that RVing is a terrific way for busy families to reconnect.
Noted RV historian David Woodworth was given RVIA’s prestigious “Spirit of America” award in recognition of his two decades of service to the industry as an enthusiastic ambassador and media spokesperson.
Woodworth, who will lead a two-week RV Centennial Media Tour in April, discussed the growth of the RV industry over the past 100 years, and encouraged attendees to participate in Centennial Celebrations.
The morning event concluded on a rousing note as LaBella and Thompson joined Woodworth in leading a stirring toast to the industry as it embarks on its Centennial. The audience of 1,000 rose to salute its proud history, paying tribute to the values of freedom espoused by the RV industry, and saluting “To building the affordable dream … To the past hundred years – and to the next hundred years … To the lure of the open road … To the pioneering spirit … To the simple life … To going green … To the great outdoors … To a year of sunshine… To a century of sunshine.”
Members of The Louisville Chorus, dressed in gospel choir robes, joined the onstage band in singing “Let the Sun Shine” as the toast concluded.
A DVD of “Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine” will be available to RVIA members soon. To obtain a copy, contact Courtney Robey, public relations manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 620-6003 ext. 306.
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon said today (Dec. 1) that the RV industry is primed and ready for recovery, emphasizing the continued popularity of RVing among customers and potential buyers and the recent uptick in wholesale RV shipments as evidence that the worst of times may be over for the RV industry.
Coon delivered this industry forecast at the “Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine” market expansion showcase, kicking off the 47th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
“We have survived the Great Depression…numerous recessions and market downturns…fuel crises…acts of terrorism and wars. But we have endured,” Coon said. “Why? Because RVs are woven into the fabric of America. Americans love RVing, they love our products and how they enrich their lives, allowing them to spend time in the great outdoors with loved ones.”
According to a news release, Coon pointed to a strengthening stock market, slowing job loss, higher productivity, increasing home sales, and rising manufacturing hours as reasons for economic optimism; while noting that weak consumer confidence, continued high unemployment and anemic consumer spending still present challenges.
But the most telling sign that the RV industry is on the road to recovery can be found in wholesale shipment numbers, which have been trending upward for several months. Coon reported that, in October, total units were 16,600, an increase of 23% over October 2008 shipments. Seasonally adjusted, October shipments hit an annual rate of more than 216,000 units, marking the third consecutive month that annualized shipments topped 200,000 units.
Based on these positive developments, Coon reported that University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin now forecasts wholesale shipments to finish this year at 159,500 units.
Looking ahead to 2010, Curtin sees RV shipments climbing by 27% to 203,500 units, with increases spread across all vehicle types:
- Travel trailer shipments are expected to climb 31% to 130,400 units
- Fifth-wheels are expected to jump 25% to 42,800 units
- Folding camping trailers will increase by 11% to 13,900 units
- Truck campers will see an 11% rise to 2,000 units.
Motorized segments are also expected to see gains:
- Class A motorhome shipments are set to rise 20% to 6,100 units.
- Class B motorhomes will hit 1,400 units on 17% growth
- Class C motorhomes will increase by 30% to 6,900 units.
During his talk, Coon briefly outlined RVIA’s plans to lead celebrations of the RV industry’s 100th anniversary in 2010, and encouraged industry members to take part in noting the proud past and bright future of the industry. “As we head into a new year, we should all resolve to have the courage to believe in our industry’s recovery, and resolve to overcome these difficult times” he said.
“Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine” will kick off the National RV Trade Show on Tuesday, Dec. 1, with a lineup of presentations that will stress a strong message of optimism as the RV industry looks toward recovery over the coming year, according to RVIA Today Express.
The event will begin at 6:45 am (15 minutes later than previous years) with a complimentary full breakfast in the South Wing Mezzanine Level Ballroom of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).
RVIA Chairman Jim Sheldon will host the event, which will feature high energy fun and insightful reports, including:
- ”Radiant, Relevant, and Ready” with RVIA President Richard Coon sharing his thoughts on how the association has helped the industry weather the storm and prepare for a new beginning.
- ”RVIA Public Relations: Keeping Our Image Bright” showing how RVIA’s PR team worked to protect and advance the image of the RV industry in a gloomy news environment. This segment will include RVTV, a highlight reel of the best broadcast RV news and entertainment hits from 2009.
- “Go RVing: Rays of Hope as the Decade Dawns” examining how the Go RVing national advertising campaign stoked demand in 2009 and featuring the introduction of new Go RVing creative designed to heat up consumer interest in 2010.
“Our Outlook breakfast draws a large and enthusiastic crowd each year because attendees know they will be entertained and informed,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer. “This year’s show will capture the resilient spirit of our industry, which is more evident than ever in difficult times. Outlook attendees will hit theLouisville show floor optimistic about the future of our industry.”
As always, the show will also feature special guests and surprises.
A Go RVing shoot will take place between Aug. 24 and 28 in the Elkhart, Ind., area to showcase the latest RV industry products in new streaming video and photos for GoRVing.com. The popular Go RVing website and consumer video are being updated in preparation for the debut of new television spots in 2010, according to a story in the current edition of RVIA Today Express.
At its June meeting, the Go RVing Coalition endorsed the creation of new TV advertisements and online video in order to re-energize the campaign and the RV industry as the U.S. economy improves. Both the new TV spots and the updated video will debut at Outlook 2010: Let the Sun Shine, the Dec. 1 kickoff event to the National RV Trade Show in Louisville. The ads and video will work in tandem to build demand and accelerate the recovery of the industry by emphasizing timely value messages while maintaining the emotional appeal that has made the Go RVing campaign so successful since 1997.
Ordered by roughly 900,000 people since it was produced in 2004, the Go RVing video is offered in all the coalition’s ads as a means to capture leads. Its objective is developing the interest of consumers who respond to Go RVing ads by providing them with more information on RV types and features, and motivating them to visit an RV dealer or show.
RVs Needed For Shoot
Go RVing invites manufacturers to participate in the upcoming production shoot and be recognized when the new video is introduced at the National RV Trade Show this December. The timeframe for the shoot is Aug. 24-28, but each vehicle will be needed only for one to two days within that timeframe. The shoot will take place at locations in the greater Elkhart area now being determined.
The Go RVing Coalition is specifically seeking representative new RVs that are designed for weight and size reduction and fuel efficiency, e.g.: a Sprinter body Class B motorhome, a Sprinter body Class C motorhome, a low-profile Class A motorhome, a lightweight travel trailer, an ultra-lightweight travel trailer, a lightweight folding camping trailer, and a truck camper. Solar panels and other “green” features are especially desirable. Should RVIA receive multiple offers of the same RV type, a lottery will be held to select the vehicles needed.
Interested manufacturers should contact Margie Spence, RVIA’s advertising manager (email@example.com) as soon as possible at (800) 336-0154, ext. 357. Manufacturers selected will be notified by Aug. 13 and receive complete details including delivery date and location shortly thereafter.