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Go RVing, PR Reports Outline New Tactics for Changing Market

(RESTON, Va.) Go RVing and RVIA Public Relations are embracing new technology and responding to social trends to help the industry grow in today’s “green, new world,” Annual Meeting attendees learned.

“Leading Us Into the Global Village”

RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella addressed the biggest challenges looming in a presentation titled “Leading Us Into the Global Village,” that both summarized the association’s recent media successes and offered a “look ahead to what we as an industry need to do differently to succeed tomorrow.” These challenges include increased consumer attention to environmental concerns and the need for companies to be “green,” a possible consumer shift away from buying trucks and other tow vehicles as new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards take hold; the fact that fewer of America’s kids (and adults) are spending time in the Great Outdoors; and reaching out to the increasingly diverse United States population.

B.J. Thompson said that he expects RVIA’s new, broad-reaching forays into “social media” - online communications where users contribute to the content - will facilitate more and better information about key issues, bypassing traditional media “gatekeepers.” He added, “online social media and other new communications technologies allow RVIA’s PR team to engage in a direct, continuous dialogue with key audiences. Not only the media, but also consumers, and investors.”

To provide industry members with breaking news as it happens, RVIA this year introduced a news portal that provides same-day access to RV news stories. RVIA members and the media can subscribe to the news portal – which can be found in the “News Room” section of www.rvia.org - and be notified – via email or cell phone - each time new stories are posted. RVIA is also posting select TV news stories and spokesperson videos on the popular video sharing site, You Tube.

“Go RVing: A New Media Landscape”

Go RVing Coalition Co-Chairman Don Walter joined LaBella for “Go RVing: A New Media Landscape,” a review of the 2008 campaign, the emergence of new social media in Go RVing’s online efforts, and the outlook for the Phase V campaign in the current business environment.

“In today’s new media landscape, traditional paid advertising, social media and media publicity are ALL part of the scenery,” Walter began. Go RVing scored big this year with a buy on the biggest network TV event: the Super Bowl. Nearly 32 million viewers saw the popular “Imaginary Friends” commercial on the Pre-Game Show – the biggest one-time audience ever for a Go RVing ad.

In the week following the Super Bowl, traffic on www.GoRVing.com rose 13 percent as a result of the spot and RV tailgating coverage generated by RVIA’s public relations efforts.

Go RVing will keep up the pace heading into the summer with 129 spots on the Beijing Summer Olympics in August. This late summer awareness blitz on NBC and its sister networks will hit just as the U.S. economy is expected to begin regaining strength.

Walter reported that Go RVing is taking full advantage of new media opportunities by launching its first consumer blog – which will follow Go RVing spokespeople Brad and Amy Herzog on a three-month RV journey - in April. With 26 planned postings, the blog is being set up so that Brad and Amy can post family snapshots and short video clips of the family and their RV on their journey. Readers will be invited to log on and comment about the Herzogs’ adventures and subscribers will be alerted via email when a new post is added to the site.

Go RVing is also developing a sponsored Facebook page where RV enthusiasts will be able to gather to share information and links from the GoRVing.com website. The Go RVing e-newsletter will be used to encourage subscribers to become “fans” of this page, and share it with their friends.

LaBella noted that with RV shipments declining, Go RVing’s 2008 media budget has been reduced by $1 million to reflect the drop in projected new unit assessments income. This will make 2008 the smallest Go RVing advertising year since 2005. The Go RVing Coalition plans to take up consideration of Phase V (2009-2011) campaign funding next fall, when the business outlook should be clearer and the market ripe for additional stimulation.

Video highlights featured during the presentation are available. For a DVD that includes "RVTV," clips of RV news and entertainment coverage, "Celebrity RVers Tonight," and more, contact Courtney Robey in the Public Relations Department at (800) 336-0154, ext. 306 or email at crobey@rvia.org.

Category: RVIA

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