The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) media relations campaign to preserve the positive image and appeal of RVs during the recession has taken the top award in the prestigious Silver Inkwell competition, sponsored by the International Association of Business Communicators in Washington, D.C./Baltimore.
More than 130 entries were vying for recognition in this year’s competition. Only five, including RVIA, won top Awards of Excellence, and RVIA’s program was selected as “Best of the Best” among all programs entered, according to a news release.
As the U.S. economic meltdown decimated the RV industry and threatened its image and reputation, heavy news coverage could have created the perception that RVs were no longer popular or relevant. To counter that perception, RVIA and its PR agency, Barton Gilanelli, crafted a strategic media relations plan designed to maintain a positive image for RV travel and reaffirm its appeal as a leisure travel option during the recession. Hooking media interest with news that the RV industry was celebrating its 100th year in 2010, RVIA successfully carried out the plan by demonstrating that RV demand remained strong, that RVing continued to be a bargain, and that the industry was weathering the recession through innovation.
The public relations team that worked on the winning program included RVIA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella, Senior Director of Marketing Communications Chris Morrison, Director of Media Relations Kevin Broom, Public Relations Manager Courtney Robey, and RVIA’s marketing communications agency account team, Fran Connors and Jon Tancredi of Barton Gilanelli Associates, Philadelphia. They accepted the award on behalf of RVIA in a ceremony on Tuesday (Oct. 26) in Washington.
Meanwhile, the RV Industry Centennial program conducted by RVIA in 2010 has also placed as a finalist in the media relations campaign category of the national PR News Awards for nonprofit public relations. RVIA is among an elite group of finalists in this category, which also includes the National Football League, the American Cancer Society and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The top campaign will be announced on Nov. 3.