The heads of the Go RVing Coalition’s advertising campaign intend to “shore up softening demand and give our industry a shot in the arm,” according to Gary LaBella, the Recreation Vehcile Industry Association’s (RVIA) vice president of public relations and advertising.

“With an $11.5 million total media budget for 2001, we are buying an all-time high number of TV spots,” said Tom Faludy, president of Carefree of Colorado and head of the coalition.

“Cable (TV) exposure remains our top priority,” Faludy continued. “Nineteen networks will air our commercials an estimated 2,500 times this year. The good news is that TV networks are also experiencing the economic slowdown and are more willing to negotiate, so we’re actually getting more for our media dollar.”

In terms of print advertising, Faludy said, “Several publishers sweetened our 2001 deals by offering additional space at no extra cost to run more detailed information adjacent to our ads — better known as advertorials.”

Advertorials will appear in Readers Digest, Travel Holiday and Family Life magazines, he said. In Readers Digest, advertorials featuring endorsements by RVIA spokespersons will run eight times this year.

The 2001 media plan also included banner ads on 13 consumer Web sites beginning in March, LaBella added.

The goal of the 2001 media plan is to “deliver an estimated 125 million impressions per month to Go RVing’s target audience” of Baby Boomers age 31 to 50, LaBella said.

Ninety percent of the funding for Go RVing comes from a $44 special assessment on RVIA seals. Despite the decline in shipments during 2000 and early this year, there were no cash flow difficulties “because we knew the income side would be very fluid based on industry conditions,” LaBella said. “We have not spent all that we have.”

During 2000, Go RVing ad spending amounted to $11 million and LaBella said this year’s spending will total $11.5 million “give or take $100,000.”

This year, the RVIA forecasts about 240,000 units will be shipped, which would yield about $10.6 million for Go RVing, he added.

For 2002, LaBella hopes $12 million will be available for the ad campaign, which would include $800,000 that was left unspent during previous years.

The campaign during 2000 yielded “over 85,000 requests for our consumer video, compared to 63,000 requests in 1999, when shopping conditions were much more favorable,” LaBella said. “Seventy-three percent of those who requested our video last year did not currently own an RV and half of them were 31 to 50 years old, our primary target audience. Another 30% were empty-nesters ages 50 to 64, our secondary market.”

The names of the people requesting the video are available to dealers who pay $125 a year, Faludy said.