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RBFF teams with ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza for National Fishing and Boating Week

Mendoza and her kids were already avid anglers.

Mendoza and her kids were already avid anglers.

Sometimes it helps to be a little bit lucky. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was looking for someone to help the organization promote National Fishing and Boating Week, which starts June 1.

The foundation already had a partnership with Disney, which owns the ESPN sports network. Jessica Mendoza is an analyst on ESPN’s baseball coverage, and she won an Olympic gold medal in softball. She also is an avid angler.

“She checked a lot of boxes for us,” Stephanie Vatalaro, senior vice president of marketing and communications, told Trade Only Today. “She’s well known for baseball commentating, and she has two young kids, and her family fishes.”

Mendoza signed on to be spokesperson for National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 1-9. She will be doing several media appearances for RBFF, including ABC’s Good Morning America leading up to the start of the week.

A Q&A with Mendoza about fishing and an ad promoting RBFF’s program appeared in the June issue of ESPN The Magazine. When Disney guests go fishing on the resort property, they will receive a special copy of the publication. Mendoza has also been active on social media, promoting fishing on Instagram and Twitter.

According to RBFF, there are 49.1 million active anglers in the United States. RBFF is expecting updated numbers for 2018 next month.

The Off The Hook program appeared in many cities this summer.

The Off The Hook program appeared in many cities this summer.

Vatalaro said Mendoza’s contribution is one component of an experiential marketing and broader advertising campaign for that started in April. “We want to show people who are considering fishing that you don’t have to look like a stereotypical angler,” Vatalaro said.

RBFF will hold a webinar today at 2 p.m. (ET) to talk about Mendoza’s role in promoting the week and some other initiatives the foundation is taking. Mendoza won’t be on the webinar, but Vatalaro said her organization is working with social influencers in the campaign.

In addition to media appearances, Mendoza attended one of RBFF’s Off The Hook experiences that the foundation has been hosting around the country. The organization has a traveling bait shop that recently made a stop in Minneapolis, where Mendoza participated with her family. The experiential program will also be at the annual ICAST show in Orlando, Fla., and will wrap up with events in Nashville and Chicago.

“This is our first stab at experiential marketing, and if it goes well, it’s something we could grow into more locations in the future,” said Vatalaro, who explained that RBFF wants to increase awareness of fishing for metro areas and dissolve some of the misconceptions people have about the activity.

“We want to break down the perceived barriers that you have to drive two hours and spend all day fishing,” she said. “In reality, you could drop in a line during your lunch break.”

To help stakeholders promote National Fishing and Boating Week, RBFF created an online toolkit with marketing materials and other information.


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