Chris Mahoney

Editor’s Note: The following column by Go RVing Canada Executive Director Chris Mahony, appearing in the organization’s annual report, details the advances and successes during this past year’s campaign. 

This past year’s efforts featured a multitude of projects and initiatives that Go RVing Canada accomplished. In fact, 2017 was a “heavy spend” year, but most importantly it was one of our most successful years to date from a shear metrics and execution standpoint. From the launch of Chuck & Danny’s Road trip with Corus, a celebration of Canada’s 150 with our experiential initiatives, the launch of our new website, and right through to the production of the new ‘Wildhood’ commercial this fall, the Go RVing Canada team was extremely busy.

At this point it seems that the industry has weathered the worst of the economic downturn and come out the other side with an increase in consumer perception and more assets to our name than ever before.

As we look forward into 2018, our definition of success continues to evolve. With no less than five agency teams and two full-time staff who support the association, it is more important than ever to deliver a multi-pronged strategy in order to effectively execute our mandate and promote the RV lifestyle. The core MARCOM plan and our extensive use of collaborative online tools are just some of the ways we accomplish this. However, in order to be truly effective, we need to be relevant in our message to the consumer. For us this means we listen and learn from our audience of RV prospects, enthusiasts and stakeholders.

Indeed, the industry has never skewed so young in its target and arguably never been so prevalent, with words like ‘wanderlust’ and ‘vanlife’ being used throughout the landscape on a daily basis. As social market changes occur, Go RVing Canada will be dynamic in its approach to media, creative, digital, PR and experiential activations.

I’m excited to share the release of our new spot, which takes a multi-generational approach but still keeps its core brand message of “bring back wildhood.” The spot will also come in several new formats that include a four-minute lifestyle video, 30-second TV commercial, 60 second online video, and six-second clip for online bumper ads. As a result of the changed media landscape, we’ve slightly reduced the TV buy, but also committed to showcasing the 60-second spot nationally through Cineplex. This medium allows us to get close to 100% of the audience’s attention and reach 3.7 million Canadians
over a two-week period in Feb/Mar 2018. Of course, as our TV buy decreased so the digital spend increases. With our new team at Jungle media we’ve developed some innovative tactics and channels that will help us target the right consumer for less money.

Special projects and earned media will take on a new beginning this year with our
new PR team Citizen Relations at the helm. In fact, we’ve already reviewed begun to implement spring and summer executions that will raise awareness and help overcome physical and emotional barriers. Another tactic that we will pursue is the RV 101 & Mythbusting series. These five animated shorts will address both tactical barriers and also serve to guide prospective RVers through the purchase cycle.

We also recognized that we need to appeal to an assortment of camping and RV lifestyles, and the association has committed to boost its efforts to promote seasonal camping. This year we will create a microsite specific to seasonal camping, and produce lifestyle videos to accompany our other series and use the voices of social influencers to bring it all to life. Given the past success of our influencer campaigns, we will send out double the number of social influencers in the coming year. Again, this is a tremendous way for us to reach multiple audiences with relevant storytelling as well as develop and publish user-generated content.

With our brand more prevalent than ever before and the perception surrounding RVing so positive, we are approached on a daily basis with sponsorship and partnership opportunities. The association is careful to review each of these prospects and, as such, make recommendations to the board for further discussion based on our needs and what we feel is a positive brand fit. We look forward to unveiling some of these new partnerships in the coming year.

Finally, Canadian RV and camping week will be featured in our calendars again this year in partnership with the CCRVC and RVDA of Canada. The team will look at the how we can get more campgrounds and dealers involved than ever before as well as increase the amount raised throughout the celebratory weeklong event. If you haven’t participated in this uni ed industry event then we strongly urge you to reach out and learn more.