RBFF adds new promotional program

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has launched a new program called Anglers’ Legacy to help grow fishing and boating participation, and it is already getting an enthusiastic thumbs up from fishing and boating’s top companies, RBFF said in a recent release.

The foundation said the program will complement, not replace, its national Take Me Fishing mission, and that the plan it has will work is a simple one, which research shows will work. Anglers’ Legacy is all about motivating avid anglers to “take someone fishing.”

“The Anglers’ Legacy message is an easy one: someone once took the time to introduce you and me to fishing, and now it’s time for us to return the favor,” RBFF president Bruce Matthews said. “Research shows an extremely high retention rate, over 90 percent, when avid anglers introduce someone to the sport. That’s because avid anglers have the personal knowledge, equipment and desire to deliver a quality experience. By inviting someone with whom they feel comfortable spending a day on the water, they are basically pre-qualifying who they are taking in the first place.”

The RBFF-administered national Take Me Fishing advertising campaign will stay on strategy to target lapsed and occasional anglers, a sizeable audience at approximately 24 million, reminding them of the fun of fishing and boating. The new Anglers’ Legacy element will focus on reaching and motivating the country’s most avid anglers, estimated at 7.5 million, to invite former or non-participants to join them for a day on the water.

The dynamics of avid anglers playing a role in engaging non-participants surfaced when annual Take Me Fishing campaign evaluation surveys revealed the campaign was resonating equally well with avid anglers and the target audience. The discovery prompted a series of online surveys of avid anglers about their interest and willingness in contributing to the future of fishing by sharing their passion with someone they know.

Over 90 percent of the survey respondents said they believe mentoring others in fishing is a good thing to do and that they would be willing be do so if asked. Nearly 78 percent said they own boats, and 82 percent of them said they would welcome first-timers aboard.

The strategy of bridging the gap between the lapsed and avid target audiences has the fishing and boating community buzzing, according to RBFF.

Much of the excitement is coming from RBFF’s ongoing whistle-stop tour in which Anglers’ Legacy presentations are being made to top fishing and boating manufacturers. Nearly 30 companies have seen them so far, and 100 percent have pledged their support. RBFF said it is especially rewarding that so many major competitors are lining up side by side in “unprecedented unity” to support and advocate for the program.

From the earliest concept of Anglers’ Legacy, manufacturers were deemed critical to the program’s success because of their leverage on everything from advertising to pro staffs to tournament sponsorships.

“I’m pleased to see so many boat manufacturers already supporting the Anglers’ Legacy program,” said Thom Dammrich, National Marine Manufacturers Association president. “Fishing enthusiasts comprise a large and important segment of the boating market. With such a high percentage of avid anglers saying they own a boat and that they would introduce people to fishing from their boats, Anglers’ Legacy not only will provide quality and positive introductory experiences to fishing, but to boating as well. Anglers’ Legacy will effectively complement both Discover Boating and Take Me Fishing consumer outreach programs.”

Every Anglers’ Legacy presentation made to a manufacturer is concluded with the same two specific requests: permission to include their company names and signatures on the Anglers’ Legacy Declaration of Unity, and access to their pro staffs and various sponsorships for the purpose of message training.

The Declaration of Unity is a frame-quality document that is customized by magazine title and sent to each name on a long list of influential fishing and boating publications. Backed by 28 of the fishing and boating industries biggest advertisers, the Declaration is a formal request to the endemic publications to run the Anglers’ Legacy print campaign as pro bono public service announcements for the good of all-industry.

Follow up to the mailing has just begun, but early responses from the magazines have all been very positive about cooperation.

The PSAs are available in six creative executions: northern lakes, bass, coldwater fly fishing, saltwater flats, saltwater near shore, and anglerslegacy.com. Each features a montage of nostalgic fishing photos appropriate to the type of fishing and has the headline, “Picture a life without fishing.” The public service message is the same on each: “Give back what you’ve been given and take someone fishing.”

“The ultimate goal of the Anglers’ Legacy effort is to reach every avid angler in the United States who consumes any kind of fishing/boating media with the ‘take someone fishing’ message,” said Kirk Gillis, RBFF director of marketing and public relations. “We’ll be driving them to the program’s Web site, anglerslegacy.org. The Web site is to serve as the primary communication arm for Anglers’ Legacy participants.”

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