Kicking off its 10th year with new video, Internet and print ads, the Go RVing Coalition’s market expansion campaign continues to project the industry’s image to a broad national audience that clearly might not have noticed the concept of recreational vehicles had it not been for those ads.
But just how helpful has the Go RVing campaign been in the industry’s eyes?
Do people think it is doing the job for which it was conceived and funded?
In a word, yes, as a healthy 78% of the respondents to the latest RVBUSINESS.com Industry Poll believe the advertising campaign is, indeed, boosting sales during these rather challenging times.
Our follow-up questions elicited less clear-cut responses, but still landed on the side of continued support for the program. Highlights include:
• 57% of the respondents feel the campaign has been of “moderate” assistance to them, while 20% view it as a “major” factor. The balance termed the campaign’s influence as “negligible” for their businesses.
* Of the respondents who feel they benefit directly by receiving sales leads through the campaign, the biggest share (22%) indicated only a few leads have resulted in actual business. The next largest share (15%) said the campaign leads have not resulted in any sales. Just 1% replied that a high percentage of the leads turn out to be customers.
* Mindful that the Coalition is spending $16 million on media this year, we also asked about future spending, and 52% suggested the budget should remain the same; 34% believe spending should be increased; 12% feel the budget should be pared down somewhat; and just 3% would drop the program altogether.
* As for whether the content of the new campaign (“What Will You Discover? Go RVing”) is as effective as the previous “Pursue Your Passions” campaign, 51% said the impact is about the same; 37% called it an improvement; and 12% preferred the creative style of the previous phase.
* Asked where Go RVing ads are most effectively placed, 51% said “family media” while “outdoor media” came in a distant second at 19%.
* Finally, we asked about which audiences that the campaign should make a greater effort at reaching. A majority (51%) said “all of the above” while 22% said Boomers and 10% said “Gen Xers.”
Among the strong majority who feel the campaign is doing its job right is a supplier, who noted: “Concept is good. Stay the course.”
“Go RVing does a great job of enticing people into the RV lifestyle,” said an executive in the finance field. “It gets them to dream.”
An industry consultant and 40-year veteran thinks Go RVing has elevated the general knowledge of what the recreational vehicle industry is and “has finally brought about 70% populace understanding” of what line of work he is in.
In response to the electronic poll, one RV dealer said the campaign is “great at building awareness of the lifestyle – weak in creating sales but perhaps that is not what the goal was.”
“The sheer, professional quality of the ads is equal to anything else in media…,” responded another retailer. “(But) I don’t think we have made any concerted effort to start tapping the upscale minority markets.”
Another dealer, not all that pleased with the campaign at the moment, noted: “Since I think it is very overrated and do not believe it helps sales much when taking in account the high cost per unit, I don’t think it has strengths. It may help push rental sales and it makes money for the ad company but I doubt it does much for the average dealer”
“I think they have given the right message to get more people into RVing,” said a respondent from the RV park and campground sector: “We have seen many more people involved in camping and even more people are starting to get involved. I think that Go RVing would be best suited to keep targeting families and show how RVing will bring the family together and offer chances to spend more time with their children.”
Offering advice, one RV manufacturer said the campaign should broaden its appeal. “The strength of it is making more people aware of the benefits of owning a RV; the weakness I feel is they don’t seem to cover more areas of the benefits, such as a family may be involved in motocross, traveling baseball, go-cart racing, etc. so that you show a better versatility of a RV than just camping.”
Meanwhile, one RV manufacturer echoed the thoughts of several poll respondents in his essay answer. “The main weakness, as I see it, is the shotgun approach and ads placed at lower budget TV programs. I think there is a quantity over quality approach to these ads. The message is very strong and I believe prompts viewers to research the RV lifestyle and products.”
“As much as it pains many of us to spend the money, the campaign amounts to an insurance policy for the industry in its ability to stay in front of the American public,” observes another OEM executive. “So, as much as it annoys some of (us) sometimes in agreeing to spend the money, it’s hard to argue with the advisability of spending the money. Having said that, you’ve just got to think that we could come up with a more compelling ad campaign, something closer to what The Richards Group has done with Motel 6 and Chick-Fil-A.”