RVs were in the national media spotlight throughout May as a result of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) public relations and Go RVing advertising, boosting consumer awareness even as consumer confidence was reported to be sharply improving.

Media coverage of RVing resulting from RVIA outreach focused on themes of vacation cost savings, family togetherness, and the industry’s efforts to add eco-friendly features to RVs, according to an RVIA news release.

On Memorial Day, ABC’s “Good Morning America” broadcasted reports from weatherman Sam Champion, who was stationed at a campground on Long Island, N.Y.  Champion showed off a folding camping trailer and a fuel-efficient motorhome provided by Jim McAlpin of Grand Am RV on Long Island, while mentioning that RVing is a travel bargain.

Other national media placements include:

  • A May 13 Associated Press story that touted an RV vacation as a great deal, and reported that there’s never been a better time to buy an RV.
  • USA Today published a feature story about the Wahl family on May 18. The Wahls lived overseas for several years until retiring from the military.  Instead of settling down, the Wahls hit the road for an RV tour of the country so that their three children could see America.  Readers posted more comments online in response to this article than any other published by USA Today that day.
  • “Today Show” travel editor and renowned travel expert Peter Greenberg published a story about green RVs on his high-traffic website.
  • On May 21, two stories ran on Bankrate.com about new/green RV products and the impact of the government’s stimulus plan, new excise tax deduction and tax benefits on RV sales. 
  • On May 22, a front page story in USA Today included information from RVIA’s Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners about RV travel increasing this spring/summer.
  • On May 24, HGTV re-aired the “2009 RV Special,” which showcased the latest RV models on display at the Hershey RV Show.

In addition, aggressive outreach to media in advance of Memorial Day resulted in coverage that included electronic and print coverage in local markets around the country, including: Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Toledo, Ohio, San Diego, Austin, Texas, and Billings, Mont. 

Go RVing’s May ad buy on national cable television included spots on some of cable’s highest rated shows, plus a family movie favorite, “Spider-Man.”  Programs with Go RVing TV ads ranged from “This Old House” on the DIY Network to “American Chopper,” “Little People Big World” and the infamous “Jon & Kate Plus 8” on TLC.  Fans of “Law and Order” and “Bones” on TNT saw Go RVing ads, as did cooking enthusiasts tuning into Rachael Ray’s popular “30-Minute Meals” on The Food Network.  The Weather Channel, History Channel and Travel Channel also ran Go RVing spots on their programming.

Go RVing’s most extensive May television buy was on the National Geographic Channel.  Six 30-second commercials and six sponsorship billboards aired May 25 as part of a special “Memorial Day Marathon” buy.  Exposure continues the final weekend of May with spots on “NG Presents Weekend,” “Ultimate Factories” and the network’s top-rated “Dog Whisperer.”

 “Our strategy is to motivate consumers to release pent-up RV demand by hitting them with our messages as often as possible, through Go RVing ads and national media publicity,” said Gary La Bella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer.  “With the economy showing signs of improvement and more consumers saying the worst is over, it’s a crucial time for our industry to remain highly visible through aggressive marketing communications.” 

According to the monthly consumer confidence survey sponsored by the Conference Board, consumer confidence is now at its highest level in eight months.