Mercury Marine will launch a new campaign designed to hit boaters and lapsed boaters on an emotional level across media that include YouTube, TV and magazines.
The campaign, called Go Boldly, will consist of photos and videos that depict “little moments a boater can connect to,” Mercury Marine chief marketing officer Michelle Dauchy said.
“We looked across the marine industry, and there isn’t really any brand connecting with boaters on a consistent basis,” Dauchy told Trade Only Today. “Our [sales] model is really B2B, and marketing should reflect that. But we have discovered through a lot of global research that it’s really important to make contact with the end user — the boater.”
So Mercury is trying to foster a connection between its brand and current boaters, as well as lapsed and potential boaters, in a way that Dauchy compares to Nike’s “Be Like Mike” campaign: “Any successful brand you can look at in the marketplace has made that emotional connection — Nike had ‘Be Like Mike,’ which was about talking to that athlete who wanted to be like Michael Jordan.”
The campaign will come to life at boat shows globally, from Miami and Toronto to Shanghai and Düsseldorf, as well as on television and social media.
Here’s a peek into one of the spots.
“We did a lot of global research for this campaign and found there are just common human truths, regardless of whether you’re in Australia, Florida or Italy,” Dauchy said. “People who go boating want to feel confident, and they feel confident when can trust tools on a boat. When they are confident and have those tools, that enables them to really go boldly and really do what they want to do — and not worry about things that make them look foolish when docking a boat or worry their family isn’t safe.”
Mercury Marine has been trying varied approaches to marketing — last summer the company held a New York City event specifically targeted to non-boating publications to demonstrate the new innovations that make boating easier.
“When you look around the marine industry, there really is a lot of commonality in what everyone is saying and talking about. There is not a lot of distinctiveness,” Dauchy said. “We all know that getting into boating is emotional. People don’t sit down with a spreadsheet and say getting into boating is a smart decision. It’s emotional. We’ve got a real opportunity here, but we’ve got to engage with them in a real and human way.”
“Across the industry we know we need to do a better job of reaching younger boaters,” Dauchy said. “If people get into boating younger, they’re more likely to boat their entire lives. You have to market differently to Generation X and millennials. They aren’t looking for the long list of product features; they’re looking for a real connection.”