April '14

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W ith all of the success stories when it comes to promoting the RV industry and indi- vidual RV companies these days, one might think the industry consistently relies on outside PR agencies to get its stories out. Instead, much of the work is done by the companies themselves. "We've tried to be creative. Our clients appreciate it; after awhile they demand it," says Steve Taig of TaigMarks, but adds, "In general, the RV industry doesn't care about the creativity of their communi- cations. ese days, few RV companies are using outside firms. at shows you they don't care about creativity. Creative people usually don't go to work for RV companies, as they typically want a greater variety of work." Laura Martin with Martin Flory agrees on the creativity point, but adds, "at answer would be the same for any industry as price-sensitive as RV or boating. As long as you have bean counters in charge, creativity will not be appreciated. It takes courage to stand up and say, 'We're doing it anyway!' I'm not sure courage is an important commodity anymore." Taig adds, "Companies used to care more. Even up to four or five years ago, there were a lot more quality agencies employed by RV companies. Since the 2008 downturn, it hasn't come back. I don't know of anyone spending a lot of money on marketing. Some of the biggest RV companies don't even believe in mar- keting, period." ere are some exceptions. "Airstream is doing a nice job. ey have a brand and are aware of it. ey do a good job marketing," Taig says. "Monaco used to have a big marketing staff. Jayco is one of the few companies that still cares." Likewise, "ere was a quite a lot of money going into consumer advertising before everything went downhill. You can see in consumer books that the number of advertising pages has gone way down. It's mostly motorhome manufacturers that advertise, if anyone." Taig surmises that the success of the Go RVing program has convinced many within the RV industry to rely on its pol- ished story and the distinctive voice of actor Tom Selleck to do much of the talking for them. Behind Go RVing's Unique Message e Dallas-based Richards Group, the largest independently owned advertising agency in the U.S., is the creative mind behind the very successful Go RVing initiative. "In terms of leading the creative and media buying for the Go RVing initiative, the industry's promotional arm, the Rich- ards Group is day in, day out the most active agency for the entire RV industry," says James Ashurst, vice president of public relations and advertising for the RV Industry Association. is year's Go RVing contract calls for expenditures of $1.2 million with the Rich- ards Group, which maintains daily contact with RVIA staffers. Brand Manager Chad Strohl credits the cooperation of the RVIA and RV Dealers Association in making Go RVing a recognized success in American busi- ness – unique because of its sense of cooperation among intensely competi- tive businesses. "First and foremost, the industr y works together and has a complete buyout on the program itself," says Strohl. "at's what makes Go RVing such an enviable program. It's very difficult with Getting the Message Out 18 • RV PRo • April 2014 rv-pro.com rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 19 By Steve Bibler Ashurst tAig MArtin RVPApr.indd 18 3/19/14 3:14 PM

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