A United Industry Voice Impacts Summer Sales


While it may feel uncomfortable to frame it this way, there’s no denying the Covid-19 pandemic was a boon to boat sales. In case you didn’t know it, there was a well-orchestrated, highly effective campaign launched mid-pandemic that was selling the benefits of boating and fishing.

Here is the story.

Seeing that Covid-19 was triggering increased interest in safe family outdoor pursuits, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the industry’s Discover Boating program teamed up to cast the good boating and fishing message across the nation.

Specifically, it resulted in the Get On Board campaign, created from Take Me Fishing and Discover Boating, that amplified the industry’s collective voice to ultimately generate an amazing 1.8 billion impressions and garner more than 20 million online video views.

Frank Peterson, RBFF president and CEO explains it this way: “We joined forces with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Marine Retailers Association of the Americas to create a first-of-its-kind industry-wide effort. It uniquely positioned us to tell our story to new and existing audiences in a more impactful way. The result has been an increase in participation and a dramatic rise in meaningful engagements, including a 167% year-over-year increase in digital traffic to our Take Me Fishing.”

The Get On Board campaign packed it all in — digital advertising, public service announcements, social media and public relations. The success becomes real when you see these highlights of the campaign:

· 44,000 new boat buyers entered the market during the busiest selling period (March-June), according to NMMA.

· Over 261,000 new boats sold year to date, up 9 percent from 2019, marking the highest sales volume in 13 years, according to NMMA.

· Participation Growth: 3 million more fishing license purchases year-over-year according to RBFF.

· A whopping 9,768 PSA airings generating $1.3 million in advertising value.

An amazing 1.4 billion earned media impressions and more than 13,000 earned media placements like: feature articles from CNN, the Washington Post, People, HuffPost and USA Today and many more.

More than 380 million impressions from paid advertising in various media outlets.

In addition, making it on social media in today’s digital world was critical to the successful results. Here are select examples of the impact:

  • A 107 percent average increase in digital traffic on Discover Boating’s website and across Take Me Fishing digital assets year-over-year, especially among target audiences like females (up 65%) and Gen Z ages 18-24 (up 155%).
  • The Get On Board video was a top-viewed social post among Discover Boating’s nearly 800,000 Facebook followers.
  • 1,600 uses of #TheWaterIsOpen created a social media movement among influencers, industry partners, outdoor enthusiasts, anglers and boaters.
  • Social content from @TakeMeFishing and @DiscoverBoating reached 179 million impressions, a 165 percent year-over-year increase.

Finally, the campaign left nothing to chance, using all available means including social influencers that generated good success in their own right. Overall, 2 million likes, comments, shares, views and clicks were generated by social influencers, significantly exceeding expectations in consumer interactions. A couple of examples are:

  • Allison Anderson went on a boating adventure and encouraged her more than 1 million followers to get on the water because of the benefits and accessibility boating offers.

The result, of course, has been boat dealers across the country enjoying new boat buyers. But it didn’t just happen. Across the country, Get On Board was drumming up much-needed attention to boating as the perfect family remedy to pandemic stress, driving home the message that the restorative power and social distancing benefits of boating and fishing can’t be equaled.


Q&A with Martin Bjuve

Volvo Penta of the Americas president and lifelong boater Martin Bjuve.

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