Brian Fisher, the star of “Fisher’s ATV World” television show, visited Keystone RV Co. in Goshen, Ind. Monday (April 6) to pick up a new Raptor 424TS toy hauler. The triple-axle fifth-wheel, which features a 14-foot garage, three slideouts and sleeps eight, is part of a sponsorship agreement now in its second year.
Fisher uses the toy hauler – sporting an “aggressive orange” high-definition paint scheme that mirrors the TV show’s colors – to live and travel with his family while he’s producing video stories for his popular television series, which can be seen on Destination America and will begin airing on NBC Sports in July.
Combined, the networks reach a potential audience of about 120 million people, which Keystone’s Jim Mac said offers tremendous return on the towable manufacturer’s investment.
“That’s a lot of eyeballs, and what’s good is they’re not just seeing it as a prop in the background. They’re seeing it used in a way that it’s meant to be used. Brian, his wife and kids and their dog travel all over the country in their Raptor, so it’s part of the story and it’s part of the show. It’s a great value in that regard,” Mac told RVBUSINESS.com.
While driving the new Raptor back to his Pennsylvania offices, Fisher said the toy hauler was “towing like a dream” behind his 2014 Dodge Ram 3500. He bought the truck last year when they took delivery of a 412TS Raptor and put 20,000 miles on it – all for the show – and expects to drive about the same amount of miles this year.
“We always had a motorhome, but it was never big enough for all of us and we had to tow all our toys and gear in another trailer behind it. So last year we went with the Raptor and we just fell in love with it,” Fisher said. “It gave us the room we needed and it was nice being able to unhitch and have a vehicle to drive around in.”
Fisher said he and his wife put together a wish list for a new Raptor model and presented it to Product Manager Jim Rzepka, which eventually became the 424TS. In line with Fisher’s instructions, the 424TS is 42 feet, 8 inches long and 13 feet, 6 inches tall with a shipping weight of 15,385 pounds. Cargo capacity is a hefty 3,615 pounds, which is good since Fisher plans on putting four quad ATVs in the toy hauler’s 14-foot garage.
“That’s what’s great about Keystone. We told them here’s what we like and here’s what we don’t like, and they just whipped out their notebooks and wrote everything down. They value our opinions,” said Fisher, adding that the 424TS is pretty much exactly what they asked for. “It has the layout in the living room that works for us, and it has two feet more garage space. You wouldn’t think two feet would make that much of a difference, but you’d be amazed at what it means when you have all that gear.”
Fisher was emphatic in saying the Raptor is more than just a pretty set piece. He and his family live in it more often than not, so it had to not only be comfortable and functional, but also durable to handle the intense conditions it’s put under.
“This is what we do. We can’t afford to have it break down. If we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna live it,” he said.
While the official sponsorship is in its second year, the relationship actually began about 3 1/2 years ago. Keystone exhibited a Raptor at one of Fisher’s “reunions,” an event that attracted about 1,000 of his show’s fans. Fisher was to include the Raptor in a video shoot, but rain made for muddy conditions and the shoot was called off. Fisher came to Goshen soon after and spent a few days doing a proper video shoot, and the relationship took off from there.
Mac provided a concrete example of Keystone’s return on investment with its sponsorship. At a consumer RV show in Tennessee earlier this year, District Sales Manager Tim Price was approached by a man who asked whether the Raptor behind him was the same one on Fisher’s ATV World television show. When Price said it was, the man told him to go get the dealer because that’s the one he wanted to buy.