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A key webinar; Ole Evinrude’s motor; Twiggy retires

First, this week’s special webinar from Grow Boating featuring Marcus Sheridan is a must-attend for every dealer that is doing, or planning to add, digital content to their marketing mix. The webinar is set for this Thursday (April 26), 2-3pm EDT.

No question content has become king in digital marketing these days. It’s why the industry’s Grow Boating team is making available “Straight Talk: How to Produce Digital Content that Truly Moves the Sales and Marketing Needle

What can you expect? Sheridan will show you exactly what type of content your business must produce if you want to stand out from the competition. He’ll reveal why most content doesn’t get results, discuss creative ways and ideas to make headway in an ultra-competitive digital buying environment and share actionable advice and takeaways on developing effective content.

Dubbed a “digital marketing guru,” Sheridan was named #6 on the Forbes list of 20 Speakers You Shouldn’t Miss the Opportunity to See. He’ll share his own personal experience on revolutionizing his business in the midst of the economic downturn and becoming The Sales Lion.

It’s all free from the Grow Boating campaign. So, REGISTER HERE now.

Outboard history on the Move

There is likely no name more recognized in the world of outboard motors than Ole Andreassen Aaslundeie (1877 – 1934). Ole Evinrude immigrated to Cambridge, Wisconsin, at the age of 5 and is credited with eventually inventing the first commercially successful outboard motor that reportedly sold 9,142 units within the first year.

Last Thursday in Wisconsin, history was on the move as Ole Evinrude’s 3-horse power outboard was moved into a massive new state archive and preservation facility on the east side of Madison.

Historians rightly record Ole as successfully created an affordable modern technology for American families, while improving the popularity of recreational boating through engineering.

Twiggy Announced Retirement

It’s history of another kind – gray and furry. At the Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota last weekend, Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel entertained fans for the last time as she skied behind her radio-controlled boat. The famous Florida gray squirrel said she’s retiring.

Forgive me for getting personal here, but the truth is I actually owe that wonderful rodent a lot. Back in 1986, I got a call from a Chuck Best in Florida. He tried to convince me he had a squirrel that could water ski and wanted me to book him for our Cleveland Boat Show.

“This guy thinks he has a water skiing squirrel,” I remember calling out to my assistant, “they must be smoking real stuff in Florida!” To get rid of him I finally said: “Send me a video tape.”

He did. I put it on for the staff at lunch time thinking we’d have some good laughs. What we got was our mouths open and the realization that Twiggy was not only real but had huge publicity potential.

I called Chuck back and that started a 22-year relationship during which Twiggy annually appeared at the Cleveland show and, frequently, at other boat shows we produced in Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina. Sadly, Chuck’s sudden boating-related death in 1997 stopped all Twiggy appearances. But I was convinced Chuck’s wife, Lou Ann, who was the personable assistant for every performance, could bring the show back.

It took another year for her to finally agree, but in 1999 she and Twiggy returned to Cleveland and started to perform again, eventually touring in Europe and Japan among other stops, and appearing in films like “Anchorman” and ‘Dodgeball,’ and a Brad Paisley music video.

Lou Ann was a natural. And, because of Chuck’s death, she dedicated every show to water safety, urging kids to learn to swim and to always wear a life jacket when boating. Indeed, before Twiggy would start skiing, she would put her in a “squirrel-size life jacket” she made to drive home her message.

Twiggy won’t be totally disappearing in retirement. Next up for Lou Ann is writing a children’s book featuring, of course, Twiggy.

So why do I owe Twiggy so much? I recall many of my fellow boat show managers would joke about “Schultz and his squirrel act.” But for all those years, I experienced her power to consistently attract great print and TV news coverage every show. And, while I’ll never know how many tickets she sold, I’ll never forget the crowds of smiling people gathered around her show pool every time.

So thanks, Twiggy and Lou Ann, for great entertainment surrounded by an important safety message. Can’t wait for the book.  

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