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Discover Boating debuts movie-theater ad at webinar

Discover Boating’s silver-screen commercial debut was unveiled Wednesday in a 30-second spot called “Transformation.”

“Imagine the big screen and the digital sound bouncing around, and most of all, imagine a captive audience,” Discover Boating president Carl Blackwell said Wednesday during a Discover Boating webinar designed to recap strides made in 2012, as well as outline goals for 2013.

The spot is available on the newly revamped Discover Boating website and features the best of all of the Discover Boating video footage, combined and refashioned for a 30-second spot.

Blackwell is urging the marine industry to come together for an industrywide Welcome to the Water National Marina Day.

“Our goal is to have 500 events nationally,” Blackwell said. “That’s a little aggressive, but we think we can do it, and what better way to reach customers than to have 500 events nationwide? For hands-on boat training, we’re working with organizations to pair up trainers with these particular events because we think it’s so vital to give consumers that on-the-water experience.”

Without strong grassroots support, the effort won’t succeed, Blackwell said.

“The key to success here is how much support comes out of these local events,” Blackwell said. “What we’re doing is building a framework and giving some materials, but it’s really got to be supported on a local level.”

Blackwell also unveiled a revamped website Wednesday, emphasizing the “Boat Selector” tool that is by far the most popular tool offered, he said. It saw a 613 percent increase in manufacturer referrals, though that was only for a small test campaign in January and February that was up against a period of no advertising the year prior, Blackwell said. Discover Boating is projecting to reach a 50 percent increase by the end of the campaign, from about 400,000 to 600,000 manufacturer referrals.

The tool has been implemented on the Take Me Fishing website and Discover Boating is working with other “big entities — some sites that have a lot of traffic” to integrate the Boat Selector tool, as well, Blackwell said.

It now offers two referral paths to customers less willing to enter information, Blackwell said.

“Not everyone wants to leave information on our site and those of you who have websites know how challenging that can be,” Blackwell said. “We didn’t want to just lose those customers, so we created this other path called the referral path.” In that format, customers link directly to manufacturers’ pages. “We’re finding many, many more consumers going that path rather than signing up to be contacted by manufacturers from our site.”

Blackwell packed a lot of information into the hour-long webinar, with updates about the avenues Discover Boating is taking to reach an audience and specific goals to reach them, and the free tools available to the industry.

Blackwell continued to emphasize one of the marine industry’s unique qualities as a product: “Fun is our competitive advantage. I just can’t emphasize that enough.”

Click here for the slides and click here to download a recording of the webinar.

— Reagan Haynes

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